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If home is where the heart is, then the heart of any great community lies within the people who call it home. And this holds especially true for the dedicated crew of volunteers working diligently behind the scenes to put together Knox United Church’s annual spring thrift sale. On site at the Fellowship Centre are dozens of longstanding members of the congregation along with several industrious young people, including the local Cub Scout troop who have been using the church space for their meetings. Even the Minister, Reverend Liz Bowyer along with Sharon Copeman, are pitching in and wearing different hats (literally speaking…while I was there I saw Reverend Bowyer have fun trying on at least two different red hats).

DSC_3798In a matter of a few hours everyone was able to transform a rather dull looking auditorium into vibrant market place filled with an eclectic selection of furniture, collectibles, china, toys, books, clothing, accessories, and everyday household items donated by the congregation and surrounding community. By Friday evening, they will be ready to open their doors to the public from 5pm to 8pm and then again Saturday from 9am to 12noon.

DSC_3772Nestled on a pretty side street in Kerrisdale in Vancouver, Knox United has a long history of being an important part of the community and the thrift sales have been an integral part of that process as far back as people can remember. “I have been a member of Knox United for over 30 years and as far as I know, the sales were going on long before I arrived,” says Tacye MacLagan. For the past 20 years she had been the thrift sale coordinator and recently passed the torch over to Susan McAlpine. Together they thought that the thrift sales may have been going on since the early 1950s.

Although there is a lot of work that goes into organizing the thrift sales each spring and fall, proceeds from these events are crucial to supporting various church programs. According to McAlpine “money raised from the thrift sales goes directly into the operations budget and helps to support much needed community-based programs such as the Syrian Project, Community Lunch Program for those in need, and the Healing Touch program.”

McAlpine seems to have the set up process well in hand, but is grateful that MacLagan (who recently moved away to the Island) has come back to help with this rather daunting task. “We have been collecting donations since the third week of February” says McAlpine. “In the past we have rented storage bins but this year we were able to build a storage unit on site in the Fellowship Centre’s auditorium and this has made the process of unpacking and setting up so much easier.” She opens the storage unit and lets me take a peak in. It is filled to the rafters, people have been generous. Despite how much stuff is there, I did spot a lovely wicker love seat and chair.

DSC_3761They have quite the task ahead of them, but cheerfully the volunteers start streaming in and grab what they can to take back to the appropriate section. Not only are they setting up in the auditorium, there are at least three other rooms being commandeered for the sale.

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A particular favourite for local dealers is the “boutique” which is set up in the preschool space. Here is where you can find some of the more collectible and higher end items such as china, vintage jewellery, serving platters, dolls, and art. Already set aside for this sale is a 32 piece set of Royal Albert Old Country Roses dinnerware, sterling silver souvenir spoons, and a nice pair of silver plated serving utensils. Having been to the sale on many occasions, I would never have guessed what this room looks like before the sale.

DSC_3778Another popular space for many coming to the sale is the room set up for all the toys and games. The Cub Scout troop seems to be having fun stocking this space. Several sparkly party hats have been found and now worn. One of the Cub Scouts, wearing one of the more interesting hats, takes time to point out that there is a PlayStation 2 on one of the tables. McAlpine’s daughter Sarah is also busy helping to organize this room, which so far has quite the selection of board games, dolls, and various toys for all ages.

DSC_3826In a smaller room around the corner is where all the books will be for sale. At the moment they are all stored in boxes waiting for their turn to come out and be set up. One by one each book will be meticulously placed in its specific section, making whatever you are looking for easy to find.

DSC_3783The auditorium is by far the biggest room and will feature housewares (vintage and contemporary), furniture, tools, clothing and accessories, luggage, linen, and even a beautiful 1950s grandfather clock. There will also be a small section set up with plants for sale and master gardeners on site to answer questions. Here is just some of what you can expect to find.

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DSC_3833All of this is somewhat bittersweet as this may be the last year of the thrift sale. The church has had to make the difficult decision to sell the land where the Fellowship Centre building sits. The decision was not made lightly and has stirred some controversy in the area. However, the sale will allow them to continue their work in the community. They will be building another smaller meeting space for the preschool in behind the actual Church, but are unsure if and where they will be able to continue to host the sales in the future.

Personally I hope that they will find a way to continue as I look forward to their sales every spring and fall. Everything is always well organized and quite reasonably priced…and the volunteers are gracious and fun…each time evoking a true sense of community.

Knox United Church
5600 Balaclava St @ 41st Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Friday April 22, 2016 5pm to 8pm
Saturday April 23, 2016 9am to 12noon
**Lots of free street parking in the area and they will have the BBQ set up selling hotdogs and hamburgers both days.

DSC_3621Like a well orchestrated dance, the Kerrisdale Arena in Vancouver is transformed within a few hours from a community centre arena to an elegant showcase of all things beautiful. Dealers, and their vehicles, line up early to drive their wares into the heritage building. Come Saturday (April 9, 2016), this concrete space will be hosting the Kerrisdale Antiques Fair.

DSC_3552Little by little, it all comes together often without a hitch. Renee Lafontaine has been running these shows for 15 years and she leaves nothing to chance. She meticulously organizes every detail: from the initial set up of tables and curtains at 6:30 am by the rental company, to the timed drive in of every dealer, and then moving out all the vehicles making room for the final set up.

DSC_3565Dealers are also well organized…having packed and labeled everything well in advance. They only have one day to get in and set up their booths before the doors are open to the public on Saturday and Sunday (April 9 and 10, 10am to 5pm).

There really is something for everyone. Here you can find Native Art and Artifacts, to vintage and antique jewellery, ornate silver platters and sterling flatware, to Mid-centuy Modern decor. You can also find memorabilia and collectible items from the quirky to the sublime. There is even vintage clothing and accessories along with housewares (that still work) from the 50s to the 70s and beautiful linens. Also for sale are beautiful works of art from well known European and Canadian artists and one-of-a-kind jewellery. There is even a guitar, with it’s original case, that dates back to 1830, a restored navy signal light from a war ship and unique pieces that defy description.

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Owl Pendant

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DSC_3610Kerrisdale Antiques Fair
Saturday April 9 and Sunday April 10, 2016
10am to 5pm, $7 admission
5670 East Boulevard at 41st Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia

TIP…if you visit their Facebook Page you can download a $2 off coupon for Sunday only.

Fort Langley MarketFive Best Places to Acquire Antiques

1. Antique and Collectible Shows
These shows are the perfect venue for shoppers who like having a lot of selection all under one roof. In Vancouver check out shows by 21st Century Promotions and in Cloverdale visit those by Antiques by Design.

2. Auctions
For those of you who like the idea of bidding and competing for antiques, auctions are the place for you. Some worth checking out are Maynards, Love’s, Team Auctions and those held by Ken Passmore.

3. Daytrips and Roadtrips
There are so many wonderful antique/secondhand/thrift/consignment shops and markets throughout BC. Plan a day checking out local neighbourhoods like Main Street in Vancouver or downtown Fort Langley at the Village Antiques Mall.

4. Rummage Sales and Estate/Garage Sales
Regularly check your local classified listings for any of these kinds of sales as they are often great places to find deals if you know what you are looking for (Craigslist is good for garage and estate sales). I personally also enjoy heading out on the weekends and just seeing what I can find with good signage on the road.

5. Digging Through Your Own Past
One place often overlooked is in our own family’s attic or storage facility. Here you can find beautiful pieces of jewellery, china or furniture that are just waiting to be handed down to the next generation.

Five Reasons to Shop for Antiques

1. Form and Function
It is a fun way to create your own unique style with key pieces that are beautiful, functional, and often made to last.

2. Eco-Chic
Items which are considered antiques, vintage or retro are all environmentally friendly. By re-using or re-purposing them, we are extending their life and keeping them out of landfills.

3. Cost Effective
Compared to newer items, antiques are good value for the quality and price as they can be seen as investments, often increasing in value over time.

4. Conversation Piece
Each antique or collectible will likely have its own story to tell; whether it is about how and where you acquired it or where it originally came from.

5. Locally Sourced
Purchasing antiques frequently supports home-grown businesses, many of which are family run and vital to our local economy.

Five Things to Keep in Mind When Antiquing

1. Be Prepared
Do your homework and have an idea of what you are looking for and what you are willing to pay. It helps to also research what the going rates are for some items.

2. Be Mindful
When out purchasing antiques it is easy to sometimes get a bit lost in the moment with some bigger purchases. Be mindful of what you can afford to pay and what you have room for in your car and at home.

3. Be Nice
It is important to be respectful when negotiating a price for some items. Although bartering is common practice, going too low or being rude can be quite off-putting for sellers.

4. Be Open
Allow yourself to be spontaneous if you find something you absolutely love. If you go away to think about it, chances are it will be gone by the time you come back.

5. Be Aware
Most people selling antiques are reputable and knowledgeable and are often experts in their field. But do be careful when purchasing antiques online or at garage sales etc.

Antique Register 1Although there are a lot of church rummage sales this weekend, there is also a long standing antique show being held at the Queens Park arena in New Westminster. The Fraser Valley Antiques Collectible Club (FVACC) is hosting their 22nd Annual Antiques and Collectible Show.

This is a nice show that draws in a unique set of dealers (over 200 tables) to what was once affectionately known as the bottle club show. The show is being organized entirely by the members of the Fraser Valley Antiques Collectible Club. There is a lot of free parking around the arena and it is pretty straight forward to find, but if you are new heading to New Westminster I would suggest you Google Queen’s Park, 3 Avenue, New Westminster and once in the park just follow the signs to the arena.

You can read more about the club and the show in a blog I wrote a few years ago…Digging Up the Past… At the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectible Show

Admission to the show: $4
April 25-26, 2015
Show hours: Saturday: 9am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 3pm
Queens Park Arena, New Westminster

Vase2This weekend you might want to check out the Kerrisdale Antiques Fair which is being held at the Kerrisdale Arena (East Blvd at 41st Ave) in Vancouver. The show is offered both on Saturday and Sunday – April 18 & 19 from 10am-5pm. Admission to the show is $7 but if you go to their Facebook Page you can download a $2 off coupon for Sunday. There is no early bird admission for this show.

The is lots of parking in the area but you do need to be careful where you park. This area is highly monitored by parking enforcement and they will tow if you are in a no parking area or if you go over your time. There is a lot beside the arena that is free and part of the community centre, but it does fill up quickly. There is also a paid lot across from the arena but you need to pay for parking over the phone.

This is a great show with lots to see. With over 60 vendors you can find a little of everything. Check out their Web site to see pictures and to learn more about the show.

Ryerson SaleSpring has sprung and while for most people this evokes images of flowers blooming and children playing in parks, I start to get a bit giddy by all the upcoming church rummage sales in my neighbourhood. I know that there are many sales across the city, but I boldly believe that the ones here on the West Side are some of the best. They rock it old school with lots of wonderful donated items at affordable prices. And for those folks looking more for antiques, collectibles or fine jewellery, most will also have their “treasure room” and as expected the prices for those items will be a bit higher.

While the shopper in me would rather keep quiet about these sales so that the line ups aren’t too crazy, the blogger in me really wants to encourage everyone out there to come and check them out. In the end, it is all for a good cause and there is enough for everyone–young and old. I believe that the more we can do to keep stuff out of the landfills the better. And if I can find something that I love, and maybe even need, for a great price in the process then it is all win win. You just never know what you might find!

Here are some of my favourites. If you would like to share yours, you can include it on the poll below or in the comment section.

Ryerson Spring Rummage Sale
Friday April 17 6pm-9m and Saturday April 18 10am to 1pm
2195 West 45th Avenue (just west of Arbutus)
Vancouver, BC

Dunbar Heights Thrift Sale
Saturday April 25th Time 9:30am to 1pm
3525 West 24th Avenue (at Collingwood)
Vancouver, BC

St. Philips Rummage Sale
Saturday April 25, 2015 9:00am to noon
3737 W. 27th Ave. Vancouver, BC (just west of Dunbar)

Knox United Annual Thrift Sale
Friday April 24th 5pm to 8pm and Saturday April 25th 10am to 1pm
5600 Balaclava Street (just off 41st)
Vancouver, BC
St Mary’s Kerrisdale Rummage Sale
Friday, May 1, 2015 – Saturday, May 2, 2015
2490 West 37th Ave
Vancouver, BC

Antiques There are a few shows coming up this weekend, March 21 and 22, 2015 that might be worth checking out…especially if it continues to rain. In Vancouver on Sunday, March 22, the 21st Century Flea Market at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive) is always a great way to start the day. Doors open at 10am ($5 admin. fee) but for the eager early birder, you can come in any time after 7am for $20 (kids under 13 come in for free with parents). The benefits of paying the extra money is that you are likely guaranteed a parking spot and you get first dibs on everything as the dealers are unpacking and setting up. I would suggest coming in around 7:30am or 8am as by then most of the dealers will already be done. However, coming in earlier gives you an opportunity to chat with the dealers and find out if they might have what you are looking for. And, anytime before 10am is also nice because you beat the crowds and have time to really see what is on display in each booth. Either way, always a good show to check out.

There are four rooms with over 175 vendors who specialize in everything from shabby chic to 50’s kitsch, collectibles and memorabilia to jewellery, vinyl records, china, folk art and Native art and artifacts. Parking can be a bit stressful. Although it is free, the lot beside the Croatian Cultural Centre gets full early with the early birders. You can park on the street and in the neighbourhood, but do check out the parking signs as they will tow if you park in a no-parking or resident only zone. You can buy lunch and snacks on site, often a great hot meal for a very reasonable price. But being the coffee snob that I am, I would suggest bringing your own coffee (Starbucks and Blenz at Commercial and Broadway). Best to bring cash but there is an ATM on site if you run out (however the user fee is quite high). Gale Pirie will also be on site to do verbal appraisals for $10/item (or 3 for $25). This is a great option if you have something at home that you are not sure what it might be worth or where it comes from.

If you are in the mood for a road trip, you might want to head out to Abbotsford to the AIndustrial Chic 2ntique Expo at the Tradex Exhibition Centre (1190 Cornell Street). This is a two day show: Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. The admin. fee is $7 and lots of free parking (kids under 13 come in for free with parents) . This is a nice show with dealers coming in from around British Columbia and some even come in from other provinces. What I like about the larger two day shows is that you will find larger items including some exquisite furniture from a variety of eras. Last time I was there I also noticed of lot of very cool industrial pieces that were the perfect blend of functionality and rustic charm. But like other antique shows, there will be several other items to discover including china, silver, jewellery, vintage and retro clothing/accessories, folk art, memorabilia, collectibles, Native art and artifacts, and so much more.

There is also an antique identification clinic on site, $12 per item. If you plan to be there for a while you can have lunch and snacks onsite and there is also an ATM machine for those extra purchases (but be prepared for high user fee). Again, I would suggest bringing cash but some dealers may be able to accommodate credit cards. If you are not sure how to get there, check out their Web site for directions and transportation options.

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