Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thrift Stores, Dollar Stores, And Flea Markets, Oh My!

I have shopped at thrift stores, dollar stores, garage sales, and flea markets, for as long as I can remember. There is always something there that I can turn into something else. I have never thought in terms of recycling, but I suppose that is what I do. I like the idea of getting something cheap as well. I also like to shop the clearance area at design stores.

Most of the time I don’t design an item and then make it. Usually I see an item that sparks an idea and then the work progresses from there. Once in a while I may make a small sketch as a reminder but that is all. I generally find drawing limits my designing. I will start making the item and then let it tell me what it wants to become. I will step in and make certain that the design is balanced, the colours are working, and the details all work together as a whole. It is like a dance, first I lead then the item leads and so forth. It is a lot more fun working this way and I also get more interesting finished pieces. I have come up with pieces that I would never have thought of if I had sat down and designed it on paper. I have also come up with some things that should never have seen the light of day! Those are the pieces that are more fun to talk about though.

The church down the road had their annual garage sale today. Every year I make certain to go to it. Last year all I found was a 1940’s green sprinkler for 50 cents. It doesn’t work very well but it looks great. Today I picked up three necklaces of glass and stone beads - $1.50, 2 bouquets of vintage milliner’s flowers - 50 cents, a very ugly chandelier that will be cannibalized for parts - $2.00, and three vintage plants from China made out of glass - $5.00. So for a grand total of $9.00 I have some great finds that will inspire some interesting ideas.


A few years ago I had to provide a backdrop at a wedding where people could be photographed. The wedding was on January 3. We decided against doing a Christmas tree and instead I opted for lit topiaries, rosemary wreathes, and a profusion of fruits, vegetables, bread, and beautiful full blown red roses. All of this cascaded out of wire baskets and around a candelabrum. The trees, wire baskets and candelabra were clearance items bought at a fraction of the retail price. Hooray for post-Christmas sales. I forgot to mention that I had a 2 week time period to shop design and build all of this.


Here is a close-up of the fruit and veggies.


Our oldest son married a very charming and beautiful Swiss girl. When they came to Canada 3 days after the wedding we had a big party here for everyone that didn't make it to the wedding. I was going to do traditional flowers for the party but when we went to Paboom, one of our favourite dollar stores. I saw a garland of floral minilights. That is where the idea for giant electric roses came from.
Here is a close-up of the electric roses.


Each of the tables had a small version of the giant urn.


Here is Paboom, not your traditional dollar store but more of a designer dollar store.


They always have interesting displays in their windows.


They sell all sorts of neat stuff.


Another interior shot of Paboom. They have everything needed for the well presented home at great prices. When you come to Victoria visit them. Paboom Home Imports Limited – 641 Fort Street, telephone 380-0020.

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