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Posts Tagged ‘Secondhand’

21c-oranaments-3 Whether we are ready or not, the holidays are just around the corner. And, as many people begin to prep and plan their holiday gifts and decor, my hope is that several will consider buying secondhand. There is so much choice out there, and often quite affordable and fun.

21c-typewriterAs a way to test this thought…I would encourage those of you within Metro Vancouver to drop by the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue) in Vancouver Sunday, December 4th. There you will find the fabulous Retro Design & Antiques Fair being organized by 21st Century Promotions.  With over 175 vendors on site, there literally is something for everyone. Whether you are trying to find a unique gift or deciding to have a vintage or retro Christmas theme, chances are you will be inspired or at least intrigued. They also organize a flea market in the same location, and the next one is set for January 22nd, 2017.

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21c-ornaments-1There are so many ideas for great gifts, everything from vintage jewellery to retro household items and some classic collectibles like records and train sets.

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21c-trainsFor those of you planning to host an elegant dinner party over the holidays (yes…fancy is chic again), you are likely to find some beautiful Irish linens (already ironed and ready to be used) as well as silverware (clean and shiny), fancy china place settings, crystal glasses, silver servers and candlestick holders.

21c-silverAnd, then for those of you looking for something a bit more crafty or you have a penchant for the macabre…you just never know what you will find.

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Retro Design & Antiques Fair
Sunday, December 4th 10am to 3pm $5
Early Birds $20 from 7am on
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue
www.21cpromotions.com

21st Century Flea Market
Sunday, January 22, 2017 10am to 3pm $5
Early Birds $20 from 7am on
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue
www.21cpromotions.com

 

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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.

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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

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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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Green Filing Cabinet As usual, Midge arrives at the factory a few minutes early. Grateful to have a job, she clocks in just before 8am then makes her way to the staff room.

She folds her coat neatly and places it, along with her purse and gloves, in number 14, one of the many small stacked metal lockers. She grabs her blue cotton smock and head scarf then makes her way to the factory floor.

First to arrive, she tidies up the work station by adjusting the pop-up arborite stools attached to the long well used maple table. 

Flash forward 60 some years. What would Midge think now if she saw the same work table with pop-up metal stools in a restaurant dining area with the green lamps as “chandeliers” or the stacked lockers in someone’s kitchen being used as a pantry?

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Reclaimed, restored and re-purposed, these vintage industrial pieces are being redefined for the modern consumer. Sleek lines with rough edges, industrial furniture that was once considered purely functional for factories is perhaps now becoming the little black dress of interior design. That is, the must have design accessory for residential and commercial settings.

Over the past five to ten years scuffed filing cabinets, galvanized metal stools and factory cart coffee tables have become increasingly mainstream and have slowly been taking over floor space at many antique stores. Scott Landon, from Scott Landon Antiques in Vancouver, is one of the few dealers locally who carry original pieces salvaged from North American factories and warehouses.

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Landon loves how industrial looks and sees modern applications with just about any salvaged piece. “I just brought in a set of 1940s steel doors on tracks from my first demolition in BC in years. This will be great in a restaurant or in someone’s home.”

In fact, Landon was recently hired by the owners of a local restaurant chain to fulfill their vision of integrating original industrial pieces (factory tables, metal stools, vintage lighting), along with reclaimed wood, as part of the restaurant’s complete redesign. “I like being able to help people pull it all together” says Landon who is determined to show how we can easily blend the old with the new and still find balance.

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When he first entered into the business over 22 years ago, Landon carried about 80 percent Canadiana and 20 percent industrial. Today those numbers are reversed and he couldn’t be happier.  “Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult to salvage industrial furniture locally as not much was saved when many of the older factories were shut down” says Landon. As a result, he has established a team of people all across North America to track any upcoming demolitions. This is a very tight knit network and it has taken years for him to become part of the inner circle. But well worth it for Landon who is passionate about sourcing out new leads and putting together bids to clear out old factories for original furniture, hardware or other interesting industrial “artifacts” as he calls them.

Although the demand is quite high for authentic industrial pieces and Landon is doing his best to acquire, preserve and restore them, several other local antiques dealers have decided to go the route of importing re-purposed reproductions.

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The Antique Market in Vancouver began importing industrial pieces around two years ago, and although not the top seller, it now represents 40 percent of their stock. “We did have some locally salvaged pieces” says Jim Wight “but industrial was a niche market and one that was pricey.” As a result, one of a kind pieces were tough to price and they found that many people who liked the look were unable to afford them and wanted more options.

Tim Garrett from Renaissance Home (formerly Antique Concepts) in Langley has also made a shift to ordering re-purposed industrial pieces from Indonesia and India. For Garrett it also makes sense to buy from these countries as “they are manufacturers of the world with a huge amount of factories and it is fitting that that their primitive stuff is being re-purposed.”

Whether salvaged, re-purposed or reproduced, vintage industrial pieces continue to gain popularity. And, with each piece comes a small piece of history. As Landon says “we are trying to tell a story and want people to understand what stuff went through, and what we went through, to make it work today.”

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The unofficial greeter at Granny and Grumpa's Antiques and my new best friend.

The unofficial greeter at Granny and Grumpa’s Antiques and my new best friend.

It has been a while since I have taken the time to go out and explore secondhand shops. So last weekend I decided it was time to head out on my own Secondhand Safari. For this particular trip I felt that I  should get outside of the city and head towards the Valley (Fraser Valley that is). And as we all know it is always better to go on a safari with a friend so I convinced my fabulous friend Elaine to come with me. There were several stops on this trip including the Twilight Drive In Swap Meet, a flea market in Aldergrove, the Abbotsford Flea Market, Village Antiques Mall in Fort Langley, and even an auction at the town hall in Fort Langley. However, although not our first stop, I want to start with Granny and Grumpa’s Antiques in Abbotsford.

Just one of the many barns filled to the brim with antiques and more.

Just one of the many barns filled to the brim with antiques and more.

I am not sure how after all these years of visiting and writing about secondhand shops across Vancouver and BC that I have never been to Granny Grumpa’s before. But I do know that I will definitely go back…as should you! It is bigger than any store or antique mall that I have ever been in and meticulously organized. Even more impressive is that it is all owned by two people…you guessed it Granny and Grumpa. Never did catch their real names, but they are charming and incredibly knowledgeable about everything contained on their premises.

Granny and Grumpa

Granny and Grumpa

Located off Highway #1 and nestled in the heart of farmland in Abbotsford (37936 Wells Line Road), Granny and Grumpa’s used to be a working dairy farm before being converted into an antique emporium. Although things aren’t priced, all you need to do is track down Granny or Grumpa and they will know exactly what everything is worth. It is all arranged with great care and you can even find themes for specific rooms. Whether you are looking for dolls, tools, country furniture, tin signs, collectibles, vintage clothing or even heritage farm equipment…pretty sure you can find it here. They post their hours as 9 to 6 daily but I would call before you go just to be sure (604) 854-1033.

Beautiful selection of vintage equipment and tools for making cheese.

Beautiful selection of vintage equipment and tools for making cheese, etc.

If you like old Coca Cola advertising, there is a whole room dedicated to it here.

If you like old Coca Cola advertising, there is a whole room dedicated to it here.

 

Huge selection of glass oil lamps and so much more.

Huge selection of glass oil lamps and so much more including toy tractors and trucks.

Have a thing for antique dairy farm equipment?

Have a thing for antique dairy farm equipment or need a portable milking machine?

A spectacular butcher's block...if only it would have fit in my car...

A spectacular butcher’s block…if only it would have fit in my car…

Along with actual vintage cars and tractors, you can find the odd mannequin as well...wonder if this was Granny and Grumpa back in the day?

Along with actual vintage cars and tractors, you can find the odd mannequin as well…wonder if this was Granny and Grumpa back in the day?

There was so much to see and it made for a great destination for our day long safari! Granny and Grumpa are gracious hosts and I plan to go back in the near future. However, next time I plan to have a bit more time to really explore and do some shopping and maybe bring a van so that I can come back with that amazing butcher block. While there Elaine had the foresight to ask about where we could grab a late lunch near by. Granny sent us to the Birchwood Dairy where we had a very tasty lunch and tried some amazing ice cream that they make onsite. Must remember to also pack a cooler so that I can bring home a tub of their delicious ice cream as well as their yogurt.

 

 

 

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With over 200 vendors from across British Columbia and Alberta, the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectible Show, now in its 18th year, on the surface appears to be like most antique shows. But it isn’t. Digging a bit further into its history one quickly discovers that this show, nostalgically referred to as the “Bottle Club” show, is quite unique in that it is run entirely by members of the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectible Club (FVACC).

According to Brian Lefler who has been a member of the club for 35 years, “The club was pretty hard core in the beginning.” First known as the “Old Time Bottle Club of BC” it was established in the early 70s in the Fraser Valley. “Back then there were only twelve members and the only way you could join was if someone died,” says Lefler who was lucky enough to become an official member in 1972 when he participated in his first “dig” at Arbutus and 25th in Vancouver.

“For this select group of collectors, digging for old bottles was the common bond that brought them together,” says Tim Mustart a club member since 1985. “They would often get tips word of mouth potential excavation sites and actually dig for old bottles or historical artifacts on vacant lots or even better at a brewery site or a bottle making company.”

At one point they were also known as the “Valley Diggers”, says Al Reilly one of the club’s current historians and a member since 1971. Now in his 80s, the only digs he gets to are the ones in his garden but he remembers some of the first digs quite well. “There was a dig at 12th and Slocan, where the Italian Cultural Centre is now.” “It had somehow managed to get into an American publication on digging and a lot of people showed up from all over Canada and the U.S.”  He says this was a particularly good dig as there had been a ravine and people used to throw their garbage into creeks back then. Not good for the environment, but great for diggers.

Reilly believes that they were instrumental in helping to preserve parts of our history that could have just as easily been lost. “Diggers were not good archaeologists though,” says Reilly. “Instead of planning out the sites in advance, they would dig a deep hole and expand from there.” However he does go on to mention that “a good digger would always take the time to fill in the holes afterwards.”

As interest grew in the club they eventually had to expand and start to do things differently. In 1984 they became a non-profit organization and the name was officially changed to the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectibles Club. Now with over 150 members, they represent an eclectic group of collectors who are “devoted to the identification, preservation, appreciation and collection of local historical antiques and collectibles.”

Accordingly, there is a different kind of digging going on these days. The club started to host an annual antique and collectible show while also holding monthly meetings where members could buy, sell and trade their prize possessions. They also publish a bi-monthly newsletter called the Fraser Valley Holedown.

For most members like Lefler, the shows offer an opportunity to sell off parts of their collection but more importantly it gives them a chance to connect, catch up and share stories with other members. “I now come over only once a year to do this show and socialize,” says Lefler who has since retired and moved away to one of the coastal islands. According to Tim Mustart, these shows also “help to support club activity financially while also encouraging new members to get involved.”

Other types of treasures unearthed at the show include vintage pop bottles, many still with pop in them, as well as old ginger beer bottles, glass inkwells, liquor bottles, and fruit jars. But the show is now about so much more.  Dealers also sell, among other things, tins, advertising, pottery, ephemera, antiques, train memorabilia, and even comic books.

As a result, the FVACC show is a special event that runs deeper than most shows in that it brings together a group of collectors and dealers who all share a common passion for digging through our past while also staying connected in their mutual respect for preserving our history.

Next show set for Saturday, April 21st 9am to 4pm and Sunday April 22 10am to 3pm. Admission: $3. Early bird admission on Friday from 6:30 to 9:30pm for $20. Click here for more details.

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