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Posts Tagged ‘Vintage’

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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Show us yours and we’ll show you ours. Nearly one in every three people in North America collects something. People collect for pleasure. They also collect to remember, to preserve, to belong, to make sense of the world.”

This is what was written at the entrance of the Museum of Vancouver’s (MOV) exhibit that featured 20 Vancouver collectors and their rather unconventional collections last year. It was a beautifully curated show that invited visitors to enter into the fascinating, and sometimes unusual, world of collectors. Guests could also become part of the show by sharing their own collections on red and white post-it notes that were placed on the walls around the entrance and through a digital display that featured contributions to the hashtag #MyCollectionatMOV.

The show was the brainchild of Viviane Gosselin, the Senior Manager, Curatorial and Curator of Contemporary Culture at MOV. “I have been working in the field for 20 years and meet so many collectors”, says Gosselin. “Collectors are my experts. They know all the details. They have specific knowledge, bridging between public and private knowledge. Museums are always relying on collectors.”

“But because each show takes two to four years to set up”, says Gosselin, “we can’t offer a show or do justice for every collection.” As a result, Gosselin had “collected” several collectors over time. Even though she couldn’t offer each of them a solo exhibit, she believed that “it was worthwhile to pay attention to their world and their passion and doing it as a way to study the phenomenon of collecting.”

This eventually led to the idea of a group exhibit that would explore “the act of collecting, the collector’s vision and the role collections play in building identity, public memory and social connections.” But more specifically, it was meant to potentially provide insight into the questions of why people collect and if private collections affect public consciousness in any way.

When asked which collectors stood out for her, Gosselin had many but highlighted three in particular: Melanie Talkington, Rob Frith, and Kyle Seller.

Gosselin was impressed by Talkington and her collection of corsets. “She learned to make corsets by deconstructing them and turned her collection into a viable business.” Talkington, who has been making, selling and collecting corsets for over well 20 years, owns Lace Embrace Atelier, which is located in Vancouver.

From her very first purchase of a red wool corset in 1997 and after years of collecting, it is no surprise that she is considered a corset expert and has one of the largest antique corset collections in the world.

“I now have over 300 antique corsets, hoops, garters, stockings and children’s corsets,” says Talkington. “My collection has shaped my lifestyle. I created a fun and interesting business out of my passion for corsets. It has taken me around the world to work on museum exhibitions, participate in trade shows, and make new acquisitions.”

Sharing her knowledge, and educating others around the many different roles corsets played in our history, continues to be important for Talkington. In 2013, the Louvre Museum in Paris borrowed 40 of her corsets for The Mechanics of Underwear exhibit and plans to make her private collection more accessible to the general public by creating a museum in the back of her retail store.

Another, standout for Gosselin was Rob Frith and his display of vintage concert posters. “You can tell music has played a big part in his life.” And indeed it has.

Rob Frith owns Neptoon Records, Vancouver’s oldest independent record store. Although Frith has several items that he collects, the concert poster collection is one that is near and dear to him. “Music means everything to me. Posters are an important part of that. I have thousands and thousands of posters. Most are from Vancouver, but I have some from all over.”

He acquired his first poster when he was 12 years old. “I was always interested in art, especially art that was interesting and weird. My dad was a builder and had bought a house that had been rented by draft dodgers. He took me to the house to help clear it out and on the walls were several concert posters. I was blown away by the artwork and took them home and put them up on my bedroom wall.”

From then on he started to notice them all around Vancouver. He also went to his first concert when he was in Grade 8 and started to casually buy posters after the shows. Eventually his passion grew to include records. This led to him owning a record store and creating his own record label. “I have also reissued records and the posters have come in handy for those projects.”

Sharing his collection with a broader audience also matters to Frith. “I feel that this collection is important, it is a historical document. I have let people use my posters for illustrations in books, LP and CD releases, newspapers, magazines, television, and movies.” He has also been scanning images of all of his posters and placing them on his Facebook page.

Kyle Seller is another collector who stood out for Gosselin. Several of his vintage pinball machines and arcade games were on display at the MOV. All were in working condition and people could play some of them for a dollar or less.

Seller bought his first arcade game (Bubble Bobble) when he was 16, and still has it today. His collection has since grown to include around 60 and having to be creative with storage has led him to build a unique career for himself. “With my business, East Van Amusements, I restore pinball machines and rent pop-up arcades in pubs and other establishments around the city.”

According to Seller, the pinball and arcade market has found new life in Vancouver. “There are pinball leagues with regular tournaments and a massive culture for collecting.” All of this is good news for Seller as he continues to find new and exciting ways to be a part of that community and grow a business that fuels his passion.

In terms of why she thinks people collect, Gosselin suggests that it is related to how people see themselves. “It is tied to their identity and is an identity building process. As you build your identity, you are building yourself. They are always in that process of building, selecting and following their passion. Starts with intuition and interest but then you become more knowledgeable. And you get to know yourself better in relation to different topics.”

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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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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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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.

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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.

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