Home Reusables

July 10, 2011

My buddy Marlena took me to Home Re-Use-Ables this week – a very cool store a block off Argyll Road that salvages building materials from demolitions and renovations. It’s been around for a few years but she only discovered it recently – after she finished converting her garage into a studio, unfortunately.

It’s a labyrinthine place with room after room of treasures to be discovered. At the front there are a few rooms of antique fittings

like cast-iron claw-foot bathtubs. This one would be perfect for me – it’s nice and long and I could stretch out in it.

Carmen Electra rented it for her stage show at a casino.

These air register covers are like the ones I had in my first house (built in 1912).

Mystery objects.

Doors galore.

More than 200 movie theatre seats – with handy cup rests.

Pretty pastel porcelain.

I seriously considered buying one of these wooden library carts – only $20!


The Waldorf Hotel is located on an interesting, if slightly isolated, stretch of East Hastings Street near industrial docklands a few blocks to the north,

The massive British Columbia Sugar Refining Co. Ltd. building (Rogers Sugar)

Called the worst building in Vancouver by the Vancouver Sun in 1975 because of the “sheer force of its industrial revolution ugliness”

and Commercial Drive a couple of blocks to the east –

a colourful shopping street full of boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and organic markets.

Marlena had to stop in here because of her (secular) fascination with the Virgin Mary.

A friend of Michael’s took us to a place just off Commercial (on Venables) called The Prophouse Cafe.

It’s practically a museum of kitsch decor,

except that everything is for sale (I think)

or for rent for your movie project.

The owner seems to have a fetish for all things panther

such as panther lamps,

but, really, you name it

and you can find it here.

Quite amazing.

I’m out of words.

Also on Venables is Casa Gelato, a place I go every time I’m in Vancouver.

One scoop lavender (green for some reason), one scoop basil & pernod

Never less than 212 flavors of gelato at any time.

Not a problem on the dreary February day we were there – the staff was practically foisting samples on us.

Closer to the hotel, East Hastings Street is a little less exuberant than Commercial Drive. It’s a commercial street populated by the kinds of unremarkable stores and services that working class people use on a daily basis (though some gentrification is starting to creep in).

There are couple of large thrift stores within a few blocks of the Waldorf.

Didn’t find anything here.

At the Value Village, this pair of awkward nature paintings appealed to me (except they were grossly overpriced).

I bought this Coco Joe “lava” letter holder and a couple of cds.

When we asked for a recommendation for lunch nearby, the staff at the hotel suggested The Red Wagon, a few blocks east of Value Village.

Grilled 3-cheese sandwich and tomato soup

An excellent suggestion – everything was fresh, homemade and delicious.

They’ve only been open a few months but already they’re a Vancouver favorite. Not busy when we were there, but apparently that’s an anomaly. Worth waiting for (go for the food, not the decor).

Business card

Near The Red Wagon is a beautiful French bakery called The East Village.

Callebaut chocolte banana cake with marzipan

Oh why didn’t I try one of these?

Sour cherry chocolate truffle tart


Butteriest palmier ever.

More to come

Latest Thrift Store Art

September 17, 2010

click to enlarge

Polldaddy doesn’t display “other” answers directly because of spam concerns, so don’t freak when your suggestion doesn’t show up.  I’ll add them myself from time to time (what a pain).

Dr. Tad Soapstar
Michael Landon
vigoda’s ballsack
Señor Chinbum
I Messed My Pants
My lord honey
Uncle Dave

I just keep seeing Blueboys everywhere I go.

A ??? of Clowns

May 12, 2010

Just what is the collective noun for clowns?


Garage & rummage sale season is back. Yay! I went to lots of both this weekend  – and a few thrift stores too.


Long lines, small crowded basement rooms and throngs of bargain hunters & resellers.


Sometimes you find exactly what you need.


Sometimes you should just walk away.


’nuff said.


March 21, 2010

Expect more thrift related blog entries as garage & rummage sale season returns in the next few weeks and I have more time for thrifting. But for now, here are some thrift pix that have fallen through the cracks.

The horror!

More Blueboy & Pinky

Thrift update

December 4, 2009

Some new thrift stores to report on.

Buy By The Pound is in the space vacated by the Bissell thrift store on 34th Ave. As the name suggests, they sell merchandise by weight (clothing anyway – housewares and such are individually priced). From their website:

“Buy by the Pound offers gently used household items. As with other thrift stores we carry all that our donors provide and more. We sell most everything by the pound being 1.99/lb for clothing, shoes and purses which you just can’t beat anywhere. You can get shirts for under a dollar, jeans for about 2.00 and household glass and china for .65/lb. Books galore for .25 for paperback and .50 for hardback – no matter what book it may be. Goods are laid out meaning you have to dig to find…. a true treasure hunt!”

Proceeds go to funding an orphanage in Burundi. And I see that the have, or are planning, another 3 locations in town. Website.

I met with some former co-workers for lunch yesterday and discovered a new thrift store run by the Hope Mission.

The Hope Bargain Shoppe is in a bleak, charmless industrial park in South Edmonton. Being as how it’s in an area of new subdivisions, the stuff is a lot newer than I’m usually looking for in my thrifting.

I do recommend the restaurant we ate at, though.

The very swanky Zaika Indian Bistro Bar has one of the better Indian lunch buffets I’ve tried ($12.00). There’s also an Indian food market next door.

And finally, the Strathcona Antique Mall has reopened on Gateway Boulevard, in the adjacent building that formerly housed Scona Cycle (in fact, the antique mall and Scona Cycle swapped locations).

The penny farthing atop the building is still appropriate.

The interior is large, bright and inviting.

Wilf Carter display in the foyer.

For some reason, there were lots and lots of beautiful vintage Christmas tree ornaments for sale at many of the booths. As promised, here’s some pictures of my new fake tree all decorated.

It’s looking a little sparse. I could use those ornaments I haven’t been able to find.

And now I’m off to shovel snow.

My friends Michael & Marlena are retiring to Newfoundland next year (I’m choked about it) and they’re starting to divest themselves of possessions they don’t want to haul across the country – especially Michael who is an unrepentant crap-hound.

Michael C.

This weekend Michael had a sale in his gallery in the Ortona Armoury. Among the priceless treasures on offer were pieces from his Trash Art and paint-by-numbers shows. (The items that radiate sunbeams are the things I bought).


Lenticular 3D Little Red Riding Hood scene.


The needlework Jesus on the right has come full circle – I gave it to Michael some years ago and now I have it back, along with the same scene depicted in paint-by-numbers.

Also had to have this Jesus bust (no, honestly, I don’t have a Jesus fetish).

I snuck next door into Michael’s studio to document the stuff there – which wasn’t on sale (this time – there will be more sales).

Downstairs there was another large room filled with fine objets for sale.

Behind the ghastly glare are two lovely Hawaiian lithos that emulate black velvet paintings, by an artist called Cross (who I have had no success googling).

Blanket coats.

Six plates from the King Eddy Hotel, 1904-1982.

Very swank.

Book Report

May 11, 2009


Astronautical Multilingual Dictionary

A fascinating read if you’re an Italian rocket scientist presenting a paper to your colleagues in the Mexican space program (say) and you need to know the Spanish equivalents of the terms “megaparsec” or  “strap-on booster.” Others may find this book less useful. You have to already know what this stuff means because there are no definitions, just translations (English, Russian, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Czech). Published by the House of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in 1970. A Goodwill find.

My Saturday

April 12, 2009


Breakfast: pancakes with real maple syrup, sausage, two eggs sunny side up and endless cups of the most wonderful smelling and tasting coffee.



What the heck? The Emergency Relief thrift store was open on Good Friday but not today?









The new art gallery under construction. It seems you either hate it or hate it. I think I like it. Right now it looks like something collapsed – this is what it’s supposed to look like when it’s finished:




Bought my ticket to see this dude.


To the library for cds and dvds


but my membership had lapsed and I didn’t want to wait in line to renew and risk a parking ticket.


Made the thrift rounds in the northeast part of town which I don’t get to very often.




…because it sucks. No thrift finds. I also trolled a couple of Giant Tiger stores I hadn’t been to before for remaindered dvds.





Late lunch at Sunterra market on the south side. Delicious soup (more like a stew) chock full of chicken chunks in spicy coconut milk broth. Then grocery shopping at Spinelli’s for pizza fixin’s.


Homemade pizza with bocconcini, feta and olives.


Enjoy your Easter.