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Posts Tagged ‘Thrift’

At any given point I usually have at least three or four cookbooks in a stack by my bedside. This week’s selection includes Shelley Adams’ Whitewater Cooks: pure, simple and real creations from the Fresh Tracks Café, Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Patricia Wells’ Vegetable Harvest, and my latest fun acquisition, Edna Staebler’s Food that Really Schmecks. Mennonite Country Cooking.

I tend to read cookbooks like other people read magazines. At night, and sometimes in the morning, I will go through each of them slowly, hovering over beautiful photographs and interesting stories, usually marking off pages with bits of scrap paper or sticky notes; highlighting the recipes I want to try next and making notes of some helpful tips and techniques. After a few days I will carefully put them back in their designated bookshelf or stack, and pick out a few more.

They are my escape. But also, my inspiration.

From these books, I have learned to become not only a better cook, but a more relaxed one. Cooking has become my way of de-stressing – a mindful practice that starts long before I enter the kitchen. It begins with the hunt for new and interesting cookbooks. And by new, I mean new to me. I prefer to find cookbooks in thrift stores, garages sales, used bookstores, as well as at garage sales and church rummage sales. I especially like it when someone has already marked off their favourite recipes with notes and suggestions. This way I know which recipes to try first.

I also enjoy attending cookbook launches where the author is present and I can purchase their latest book. I love hearing their stories first hand as well as learning about their personal journey with the publishing process. I am usually the one in the back with my hand up asking a bunch of questions. Which recipes stand out most to you and why? Do you have a favourite cookbook (other than your own), and if so which ones and why?

The last question usually leads me on another hunt if I don’t already have the cookbook they mention. From them I have learned about highly respected cookbook authors such as Patricia Wells, Paula Wolfert and Judy Rodgers. And sometimes the answers are surprising and fun. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Yotam Ottolenghi when he came to Vancouver to promote his latest cookbook Simple. When I asked him what his favourite cookbook was, without hesitation he said “Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat.” I have a few of her other cookbooks, but not this one. So a new mission is afoot!

Yotam Ottolenghi Book Signing 2018

And all of this has further deepened my love affair with cooking and cookbooks.

With so many recipes and cooking information available on the web, I am often asked why I still bother to purchase cookbooks. My answer is simple, I don’t believe that print is dead. Especially when it comes to cookbooks, new and old.

Although you can go online to find just about any recipe, it doesn’t give the whole story. A digital search works just fine when in a hurry as it is efficient and practical, but it lacks the piece that provides the context and the extra bits of information that I love so much. And where would I put my sticky notes?

Working on cataloguing my cookbook collection.

Good cookbooks evoke a sense of place and time, providing us with a picture of how people live. They preserve traditions and recipes, capture stories, and are entertaining. They also encourage us to find our own voice in the kitchen. This has certainly been true for myself.

I will continue to add to my rather large collection of cookbooks while also finding new and wonderful recipes to try. There is always room by my nightstand for at least one more!

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Urban Repurpose

Recently I was reminded that North and West Vancouver are the perfect destination for a secondhand safari. Both communities have a wide selection of secondhand shops as well some of the best church rummage sales in the spring and fall.

Most shops are accessible by transit but if you plan to make several stops, might be better to go with friends and organize a fun road trip for the day. This way, you have more room for some of the treasures you will find along the way as well as snacks and water.

Whether you are looking for something specific, or just like to browse, there are many different types of secondhand shops on the North Shore. These include everything from thrift stores to consignment and antique stores. I tend to enjoy the thrift shops best and will mostly focus on those for this outing. But I will include a few of the other stores along the way.

Urban Repurpose

Case in point, my first stop was at Urban Repurpose in North Vancouver (493 Mountain Highway). This non-profit wants to help people change how the way we see waste. They opened their store last June and have already developed quite a following of both shoppers and donors. And with their rather large warehouse space with their own parking lot, they have an eclectic selection of items that range from building materials and tools to furniture, appliances and housewares to collectibles and unique memorabilia. They even had a shelf full of free books near the entrance.

Urban Repurpose

But they don’t just want to sell you these secondhand items, they also want to teach you how to repurpose them and develop new uses for harder to reuse materials. They plan to offer a variety of what they call “upcycling” workshops as well as do public outreach where possible. Unfortunately, they are also currently looking for a new location as they will need to leave this space by May 31st, 2018.

Auxiliary to Lions Gate Hospital Thrift Store

From there I made my way to Lonsdale and 15th Avenue and found myself in a small but vibrant thrift shop that oozed a wonderful sense of community that could be felt through the busy aisles. I am referring of course to the Auxiliary to the Lions Gate Hospital Thrift Shop (128 15th Street W) which I quickly learned is a much loved institution on the North Shore. Having been in operation since the early 60s, this iconic thrift store which is run completely by volunteers, continues to be an important fundraising arm for the hospital as 100% of the proceeds (minus basic expenses) go back to the hospital. In 2017, this worked out to just over $277,000.

Auxiliary to Lions Gate Hospital Thrift Store

But, they also provide a wonderful service to the community as they carry a wide selection of clothing, accessories, housewares, jewellery, collectibles, paintings, and so much more…all reasonably priced. And the volunteers are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and helpful…knowing most of the regulars by name. They also make the tiny space work, although I am told they could definitely use more help and a bigger space and maybe one with access to better parking.

Down the road, just off of Lonsdale and 3rd Street, is The Good Stuff Connection Thrift Shop (154 West 3rd Street). Another small but mighty thrift shop which offers good quality, low cost clothing, footwear and accessories as well as a wide variety of books, toys, and jewellery. Sales help support the North Shore Crisis Services Society programs for women and their children who are experiencing abuse.

Next on my stop was the Salvation Army Thrift Store located just off Marine Drive and Fell Avenue (1451 Fell Ave.). This iconic building, with easy parking out front, has two floors filled to the brim with just about everything you can imagine. It is a popular destination with dealers and collectors as they have a well curated selection of jewellery, antiques and collectibles. I was also impressed with their substantial collection of books but was discouraged to find that books were not arranged in any particular category. Made it very difficult to find what I was looking for (i.e., cookbooks).

There is also another Salvation Army Thrift Store on Lonsdale Avenue (241 Lonsdale Avenue)…the book section here is organized by category and they also have some furniture as well as housewares, clothing, jewellery, collectibles, small appliances and more. Parking can be a bit of a challenge, but there is free one hour parking on some of the side streets nearby. Over in West Vancouver, you can find their third North Shore location at 1582 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. This location is a bit smaller than the other two but carries a wide array of housewares, small appliances, clothing, accessories, collectibles and a well-organized book section.

SPCA Thrift Store

From there I made my way to the SPCA Thrift Store (1523 Pemberton Avenue) which is found just off of Marine Drive. It is an unlikely spot for a secondhand shop, but one that offers ample free one hour parking and a space big enough to have a room specifically designated for large and small pieces of furniture.

SPCA Thrift Store

There is also a nicely organized book selection, a room set aside for housewares and another for china, silver and collectible glassware. But you can’t leave without also heading upstairs to check out clothing and accessories. Last but not least, they also carry gently used pet supplies for every type of pet you can imagine!

Consignment Canada

And, down a few blocks is Consignment Canada (171 Pemberton Avenue). This family run consignment business is well respected on the North Shore, and should be a destination for anyone looking for beautifully crafted furniture. But they also carry a well-curated selection of everyday items for the home and office (e.g., artwork, housewares, lighting, rugs, etc.) as well as some stunning vintage jewellery.

Consignment Canada

If you are looking for something specific, it is worth checking out their Web site as they post pictures of most items that come in to the store and offer some helpful tips on their blog. But, I must say that one of the biggest draws for me is Pepper, their lovely corgi that hangs out in the office but takes time away from playing to greet customers as they come in.

There are of course many other consignment, antique and secondhand shops on the North Shore…all well worth exploring. In particular, there is another thrift sale in one of the local churches that happens every Thursday, but I promised a good friend that I wouldn’t publish the location. This is one of her favourite spots and only took me to it if I would keep it to myself. Promised kept…but if you live on the North Shore you probably know what I am talking about! Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention some of the upcoming 2018 spring rummage sales:

West Vancouver Senior’s Centre Annual Flea Market
Sunday, April 22 from 9a.m. – 3p.m.
West Vancouver Ice Arena
786 – 22nd Street, West Vancouver

West Vancouver United Church Spring Flea Market
Saturday, May 5th from 8:30am – 2:00pm
2062 Esquimalt Ave, West Vancouver

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Say, who are the people in your neighbourhood? The people that you meet each day when you’re walking down the street. A HOB volunteer is definitely one you will meet, when you are walking down 41st Avenue or Dunbar Street. They are the people you will meet each day when planning to shop along the way.

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Chances are if you live on the West Side of Vancouver you have likely met one of the many HOB (Hospice Opportunity Boutique) volunteers. They are a dedicated group of men and women who donate their time in one of the three charity shops that help to support the Vancouver Hospice Society (VHS).

Incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 2003, VHS advocates for people and families facing end-of-life issues. In 2014, after 10 years of fundraising through the charity shops, events and the support of generous donors, they were able to build their hospice which is located on Granville Street in Vancouver. They are incredibly grateful to their many supporters and donors.

According to Corry Chaplin, the VHS Administrative Coordinator, “the steady stream of funds we receive from items donated by generous members of the public is absolutely essential to the work we do at the hospice. In fact, we would not be here at all without the funds that were raised over the years to build and maintain the hospice. These funds have directly supported operations at our 8-bed hospice, as well as vital programs such as Counselling & Bereavement, Home Hospice Volunteers, and our volunteer program in general.”DSC_5490There are currently three stores, all a 100% volunteer operated and each one has its own committee that oversees daily operations and their own team of 60-90 volunteers. All stores rely completely on donations and it is estimated that net revenues generated by the three HOB stores cover approximately 35% of the total operating budget of the Vancouver Hospice.DSC_5506Each store has its own unique focus that aesthetically reflects the community in which they are located. The original Hospice Opportunity Boutique (HOB), which opened its doors on Dunbar Street well over 10 years ago selling “high quality gently used women’s clothing and accessories”, is now located in Kerrisdale (2236 West 41st Ave.).DSC_5497Louise Delancey and Pam Donald are two long time HOB Thrift Boutique volunteers who passionately believe in giving back to the community and in supporting the Hospice Society, each bringing in her own set of skills to the process. The store, which looks like an upscale boutique, is well organized with everything being grouped by colours and always with in-season items. “I like to stay on top of current fashion trends,” says Donald who helps to manage all the donations that come in. “The number one thing that we sell are tops and scarves…but women also get excited by our large selection of shoes and handbags.” And then Louise Delancey’s job is to then let people know what has come in and about all upcoming events and sales.DSC_5504HOB TOO (3470 Dunbar St.) was the second storefront to open, also on Dunbar Street where it remains today. Here you will find “high quality new and nearly new household collectibles.” Volunteers at this location manage all the donations, thoughtfully sorting and pricing items as they come in. There are specific volunteers with expertise in certain areas who help to price some of the more collectible pieces. Their window displays are always highly anticipated as they carefully plan each with specific items which are then also sold after being on display for two weeks. As well vintage linens, silver, china, crystal, pottery, jewellery, Royal Dalton figurines and memorabilia, you can also find retro housewares, books, and so much more.DSC_5529The newest addition, HOB TOO FURNITURE (3458 Dunbar St.) opened July 2016. Only a few doors down from HOB TOO, this store carries larger pieces of furniture as well art, carpets and lamps. There is always an eclectic selection of items based on what is being donated. Long time volunteers Janice Copeland and Marg MacLennan enjoy coming in for their shifts as they never know what they will find as it is always changing.DSC_5473So make sure next time you are over on the West Side in Vancouver to take the time to pop in to one of these wonderful thrift shops and don’t forget to say hello to the volunteers who make this neighbourhood a fun thrift shopping destination.

If you are interested in volunteering, they are always looking for more people to help. In particular The HOB is looking for help with marketing and social media, sorting/steaming/cleaning, and a photographer to help take photos of some of their events.

Hospice Opportunity Boutique (The HOB)
2236 West 41st Ave (between Vine St. and Yew St.)
Vancouver, BC
(604) 733-1412

HOB TOO
3470 Dunbar Street (between 18th and 19th Avenues)
Vancouver, BC
(604) 737-7304

HOB TOO FURNITURE
3458 Dunbar St.
Vancouver, BC
(604) 738-2066

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It is that glorious time of year when many of the local churches and community centres have their annual spring rummage and thrift sales. Here are the dates for the ones that I know about so far.

West Vancouver Seniors’ Activity Centre Annual Flea Market
Sunday, April 23 from 9am to 3pm
West Vancouver Ice Arena
786 – 22nd Street
West Vancouver, BC

Knox United Annual Thrift Sale
Friday April 28th, 5pm to 8pm and Saturday April 29th, 9am to 12noon
5600 Balaclava Street (just off 41st)
Vancouver, BC

St Mary’s Kerrisdale Rummage Sale
Friday, April 28, 5pm to 8pm and Saturday April 29th, 9:30am to 12noon
2490 West 37th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

St. Philips Rummage Sale
Saturday April 29, 9:00am to noon
3737 W. 27th Avenue
Vancouver, BC (just west of Dunbar)

Gracie’s Thrift Store
Saturday April 29th, 10am to 2pm (and every other Saturday)
803 East 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC (off of Kingsway and 16th)

West Vancouver United Church’s Elegant Flea Market
Saturday May 6, 8:30am to 2pm
2062 Esquimalt Avenue (at 21st)
West Vancouver, BC

21st Century Flea Market
Sunday May 7, 10am to 3pm  $5
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive (at 16th Avenue)
Vancouver, BC

The East Side Flea
May 19-21 (and every other weekend)
Friday 6pm – 10pm, Sat/Sun 11am – 5pm
1024 Main Street (Ellis Building)
Vancouver, BC

South Granville Senior’s Centre Spring Bazaar
Sat. June 3, 10:00am – 2:30pm
1420 West 12th Ave.,
Vancouver, BC
A $7 soup & sandwich lunch will be served from 11:30-1:00

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Avid thrift shoppers will be thrilled to learn that Talize plans to open their second BC location in Langley later this summer.

**Grand Opening of Langley Location Thursday September 28th, 2017**

This is terrific news on many levels. It means additional industry related jobs, a boost for the local economy, more opportunities to keep recyclable items out of the landfills, increased support for the Children’s Wish Foundation, and of course another wonderful shopping destination for savvy secondhand shoppers.

Founded in 2005, Talize is a Canadian owned and operated thrift store chain with seven stores currently in operation (six stores in Ontario and one in Delta, BC). As well as the new store currently under construction in Langley, there are two more being planned for Ontario in Kingston and Barrie.

The store in Delta, which opened its doors in 2006, recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary. Laurel Stan, who has been the Assistant Store Manager in Delta, is proud to be part of a supportive work culture that takes care of its staff and customers. According to Stan, “the Delta store has around 50 team members, with many having been here since we first opened as we like to promote from within.”

Even Stan herself has what she calls a “secondhand love story”, both she and her husband Eric Nykamp met while working at a rival thrift store before moving over to work for Talize in Hamilton, Ontario. Nykamp started at Talize in 2007 and Stan in 2008. And, in 2010 they leapt at the chance to relocate to BC to manage the Delta store. Nykamp is currently the Store Manager and Stan the Assistant Store Manager. Come this summer, Nykamp will become the District Manager and Stan the Store Manager for Langley.

And, true to promoting from within, Stan’s Assistant Store Manager in Langley will be Corrie-Lynn Parries who began working as a part-time cashier at the Delta location shortly after it first opened. Her mother, who also works with Talize, had encouraged her to take a part-time job while still in school.

There are other perks to working with Talize, such as staff discounts. However, Stan cautions that “there is a misconception that staff get first pick of all the good stuff. The truth is that they don’t get to buy anything until it has been on the floor for 24 hours.”

With over 25,000 square feet, Talize is able to showcase a large culturally diverse selection of clothing and accessories for both men and women (beautifully organized by size and colour). They also have an impressive section for children’s clothing and toys, bookcases filled with every type of book that you can imagine, rows and rows of vintage, retro and modern housewares, as well as a small back section with electronics and some small appliances.

The store relies on donations to keep itself well stocked with quality merchandise while also encouraging people to keep items out of landfills. They accept donations of gently used clothing and household goods which can be dropped off in a bin at the front of the store or if it is a larger donation it is best to take it to the back loading area. As a thank you for these donations, they offer donors a $5 off coupon towards their next purchase at the store.

There are also several purple donation bins around the city (look for the ones with the Children’s Wish Foundation logo). They cannot accept furniture or any kind of TV screen or baby items due to safety restrictions.

According to Stan, this is a high turnover industry with regular customers coming in weekly and many local dealers daily. “In the back rooms, we process 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of stock every day. It is important for us to keep fresh items coming out.” As a result, they have a large production team (25 to 30 staff) who are responsible for processing, sorting and pricing all of the incredible donations received on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, due to damage or other restrictions/issues, some items cannot be sold. For these items, Evgeni Shteinberg, Talize’s Marketing Director, says that Talize is equally committed to being environmentally conscious. “We recycle as much as possible. Metal, electronics, books, housewares, cloth, shoes, purses and clothing accessories are all recycled. In fact, we recycle more than 1.5 million pounds of items per store that would otherwise be destined for the landfill each year. That works out to approximately 100M pounds of recycled goods that Talize has helped keep out of local landfills since its inception.”

Donations not only support Talize’s commitment to a “greener environment”, they also help Talize raise much needed funds for a Canadian charity. According to Shteinberg, “Talize is a proud platinum partner of the Children’s Wish Foundation and through this partnership, we have contributed over $1.5 Million to date.” The Children’s Wish Foundation helps children, families and communities by granting a wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Talize also likes to participate in local community events such as the Vancouver Halloween Parade.

There are many wonderful reasons to consider shopping at Talize, and I would like to add one more…their store wide sale which has everything in the store at half price. The next sale is coming up on Monday, March 27th at all of their store locations. Doors open at 7am until 9pm.

For more news on the Grand Opening of their store in Langley, I would suggest subscribing to their Enewsletter and liking their local page on Facebook.

Talize Delta (BC)
11930 – 88th Avenue, Delta
Ph. (604) 599-6116
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Saturday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
www.talize.com

Talize Langley (BC)
20450 Logan Avenue, Langley
Ph. (604) 282-3874
www.facebook.com/Talize-Langley

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steveston-2Recently I made a very happy discovery while deciding to have a “staycation” locally. I found myself in Steveston Village, British Columbia. I have been there numerous times…but mostly for fish and chips at Pajo’s or Dave’s Fish and Chips or to pick up some of the local catch straight off the docks when in season.

But this time I found myself there on a rainy winter day and decided to see what secondhand shops I could find. To my delight I found two fabulous thrift stores that were beautifully organized with an eclectic selection of books, housewares, clothing, accessories, and so much more. Both were charming and staffed with the nicest volunteers who worked hard to make their stores welcoming and fun to shop.

My first stop was at the Richmond Hospital Healthcare Auxiliary Thrift Store which is located in the cutest re-purposed old church located at 3731 Chatham Street. Be mindful of the hours, they are only open Monday – Friday 10AM-3PM. I loved the old school charm with slanting floors and terrific prices.

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Next I found myself at the SOS Children’s Village BC Thrift Store, located on the main strip in Steveston Village at 3800 Moncton Street. They also have a store in Kerrisdale in Vancouver. This store was set up more like a boutique, but still the prices were incredibly reasonable and the volunteers were also quite friendly and helpful.

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Going a bit more upscale I found myself in the most wonderful bookstore, Village Books & Coffee House. With wall to wall books and serving aromatic coffee and fresh baked goods, one could spend hours here. I was especially impressed with the cookbook selection and their children’s section which was currently under construction. It is located at 12031 First Avenue.

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Last on my stop was the Steveston General Store which was next door at 12071 1st Avenue. Beautifully decorated, this secondhand shop had a little bit of everything: from cookbooks and vintage housewares to vintage clothing/accessories to antiques and fine china. I fell in love with the housewares section as it felt like I was walking back in time to my grandparent’s cottage.

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Of course there were several other secondhand and consignment shops in Steveston, but these were the ones that I found myself drawn to as I was limited in how much time I could spend there. If you do head out that way make sure to check them all out and let me know what you think.

 

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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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