Tuesday, 31 May 2011


I seem to have acquired an accidental collection of what I think of as "foundlings" - stuff I find on the street/bus/train.

I have my own set of rules about what I pick up and bring home, foundlings must be :
found in circumstances where it is not possible to trace the previous owner ;
clean ;
non-porous (so I can clean them properly) ;

The little charm in the bottom right-hand corner deserves a close-up :

Not easy to photograph, being so small and intricate, but it is a tiny bird-cage, with an opening door, and a little bird on a swinging perch.
It's just ordinary metal, no marks, about 2.5 inches tall and someone has clearly taken a lot of time to make it.

Does anyone else collect "foundlings"? Do you have your own set of unwritten rules?

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Lovely things

This week's charity shop finds

I really love it when I find storage items. I have so many bits and bobs (mostly acquired from charity shops!), but I like to keep the surfaces in my home as clear as possible, so tins and boxes are the perfect way for me to feel tidy and organised!
This modern tin with an atomic design was 40p.

I'm not a huge fan of Emma Bridgewater, but this sweet little child's cup will be a gift for a friend's toddler. It says "I love my hot chocolate".
A bargain for £1.

I seem to keep picking up tealight holders, particularly Scandinavian designed ones.
These are from "Design House Stockholm", and although they look quite unremarkable at first glance, they give a lovely effect when the candles are lit, especially on my glass-topped sideboard. They are designed to stack in a kind of interlocking way.
I paid £2 for the pair.

These are the only scented candles I ever buy, they really do smell like an open window, or line-dried washing. Not thrifted, but we were on the subject of candles and I have to put something in all these candle-holders I keep buying!
£3.25 for 6 at John Lewis.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Re-cover or not?

I bought this little stool about a year ago for £3, with the intention of re-covering it, maybe in a kind of strip-patchwork of fabric samples from my stash.

The top is worn brown leather. I have no brown leather in the room, but I have got strangely attached to it, in its shiny chocolate-bar kind of way.

I think re-covering it would be a bit all-or-nothing - just putting a fabric cover over the buttoned leather would look lumpy and messy.


Maybe these new Sanderson samples I've just ordered will help me to decide.

Just in case you didn't know, if you're in the UK you can order up to 4 free samples from the Sanderson website

Sunday, 22 May 2011

This week's finds

This week it was the annual book sale at my local library, where all the libraries in the county send their old/unwanted books to the central branch to be sold to the public.
It's a funny kind of sale - well-publicised, but only tends to attract a handful of 30-or-so buyers who are willing to queue, and the odd passer-by during the day. Of the dedicated queuers, most are re-sellers, and come prepared with empty suitcases and rucksacks. At 50p per book there are some bargains to be had, and I suppose that might explain the hideous, undignified behaviour of some buyers. I hope I never lower myself to elbow and bicker my way to a 50p bargain book.
That said, there are some lovely and interesting people there, too.

OK, so here's some of my book sale finds. The three pottery catalogues at the bottom of the picture are for re-sale. I hope there are some collectors out there who will want them.
The two at the top are my own absolute favourites - the "Signwritten Art" book is just beautiful, the illustrations would make fantastic posters, just look at those Victorian fonts in the top (not very good, but was trying not to break the spine of the book) photo!
The "Homemaker - A 1950s Design Classic" book just jumped out at me from a box under a table (while all the bad people were elbowing above me!). It's brand new, has had a library label stuck inside it but clearly never made the shelves.

That's the thing that kind of upsets/annoys me about these sales. I have had some incredible bargains over the years, but a lot of those are books that have been labelled for the shelves and then just stuck in a box until the sale. As a buyer, that pleases me greatly. As a Council Tax payer that incenses me. What a waste of council money that could be spent on essential services.

Not so much charity shop thrifting this week due to other demands on my time, but I did find these vintage curtains. I'm pretty sure they are 100% cotton, medium-heavy and slightly textured - not sure if that is barkcloth? I love the colour, and it fits in with my decor, but they are too long for the windows where I would use them.
Seems a shame to cut them, so maybe I'll try them on ebay first.
Cost - £2.99.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Thrifting to re-sell

One of the wonderful things about thrifting now that we have the internet and ebay is the opportunity to make a bit of money by re-selling.
I often see things which are obviously good buys, and will be worth money to someone, even though they are not what I'm looking for.
Playmobil is always a good seller, although with the popularity of ebay it is becoming harder to find in charity shops and at car boots. In my experience the Victorian Playmobil will always do well. This bathroom set with figures cost me £2.00 and sold for £22.50 on ebay.

Old boardgames are another thing that I don't find so often nowadays, but I always buy them if they are attractive and reasonably priced. Even if they are incomplete, if the price is right I buy them for the playing pieces or artwork.
This Waddington's "Go" game was in near-perfect condition, complete, and has such lovely, bright graphic-style artwork I was tempted to keep it. I actually did keep it for about 6 months, but when I moved house I had to be a bit ruthless and do some de-cluttering.
I paid £2.50 for the game and sold it for £26.50. The buyer was so pleased to have found it, he was buying it for his Dad's birthday and remembered having spent hours playing it with his family as a child.

Monday, 16 May 2011

A week of thrifting

I love Selena's Thrift Share Mondays, so I'm going to join in for the first time with some finds from my local charity shops

Palissy Calypso Butter Dish

I love this butter dish. It's marked "Calypso" Palissy England, but I can't find the exact pattern on any of my Google searches. It cost me £2.50.

Orla Kiely for Sainsbury
I picked up this little ceramic candle pot and was halfway to the cash desk before I noticed the label underneath it - "by Orla Kiely". It's a completely different logo to her more recent designs, but a Google images search reveals it's part of a range she designed for Sainsbury's in 2004. Bargain at 50p.

Shelley Apollo Sugar Bowl

I couldn't resist this Shelley "Apollo" sugar bowl, but as I don't use sugar often enough to have it in a bowl this is now on my kitchen window sill with a pot of basil in it. Cost £1.

I was attracted to this delicate little cup by the graphic print. It matches nothing in my kitchen, but I love it anyway. The only marking is "USSR" on the bottom, I guess it's a tourist souvenir. At 20p I couldn't leave it behind.

Lastly, these coasters remind me of my childhood, in fact I'm pretty sure we had a round tray in this same design in the early 70s. I really don't know what I'm going to do with 15 coasters, but at 10p each they were worth it for the nostalgia value alone. Cost £1.50.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

My thrifting life

Although I generally don't like to use americanisms, I seem to have adopted the word "thrifting" because I do like neatness, and it so neatly encapsulates all my favourite types of shopping - charity shopping, jumble sales, junk shops and car boots. Maybe even skip-diving and kerb-shopping, although they are a bit of a rarity.

I was introduced to thrifting at an early age by my Gran. At the time she was living in a very wealthy area, and the jumble sales and charity shops were full of good quality stuff. For the rest of my life, whenever I needed or wanted something, I'd always try to thrift it.

When I got my first job I hit the charity shops and assembled some "smart" work outfits, when I got my first flat it was pretty much furnished second-hand.

I often get dressed in the morning and realise that, with the exception of underwear, I am head-to-toe in thrifted stuff. I look around my house, again loads of thrifted bargains.

Recently I have got the urge to document all this in a kind of "thrifting diary", hence this blog.
I'm going to start with some recent buys

Lovely duck-egg blue Noa Noa wraparound shirt/jacket, in really soft 100% linen. Appears to be unworn - maybe someone just wore it once or twice for a special occasion. Cost me £3.00.

Cath Kidston for Ikea Rosali bedding, I think the correct term is "gently used". Not my taste, so I've washed, dried and aired it and will be offering it to a friend. Cost - £3.99 for kingsize duvet cover and 2 pillowcases.
Incidentally, I wonder what people's reactions to thrifted bedding are? Some friends of mine are disgusted by the idea (have they never stayed in an hotel? Do they think that hotels use a new set of bedding for each guest?). My take on it is that so long as it's in good condition, with no marks or stains, I'll wash it on the hottest setting and it's not a problem.

CK for Ikea Rosali picture frame - heading for the same friend to go with the bedding. 40p.

Coats crochet cotton - mine, all mine! Beautiful colours, not smelly*, and a mega-bargain at 20p per ball.
*I always sniff yarn - sometimes it's just too musty!

First Post!

Hi to anyone who stumbles across this.
I'm a new blogger, based in the UK.
My interests are crochet, knitting, learning to sew, and charity shopping.
The aim of this blog is to be a kind of diary of my crafting and thrifting, and hopefully to contribute in a small way to the wonderful world of blogging, which has given me so much pleasure, entertainment and knowledge over the years.