Things to do in Ottawa on May 24: Neighbourhood Sales Whipped into a frenzy (includes tips on how to prepare for the sales of the year)

Sometimes I enjoy seeing fancy knick-knacks, go figure!

Wowza. A suprisingly amazing, oh my gosh, out of the ordinary expression. Source Urban Dictionary

Two giant sales, one day, what is a girl to do? Attempt to visit both!

This Saturday I am going to be in a frenzy and hopefully so will you. Ottawa area shoppers get your car starter ready, bike basket intact and granny cart by your side.

What’s on the agenda you ask? My game plan…

My first stop will be just a short walk away from my dwelling over to the Glebe. The referrals are spreading as I type and the word is definitely out. The Great Glebe Garage Sale has become a landmark Ottawa May event. The homes are old and the objects within them are even older. I will be ready [with bells on] to go at 7:00am.

This event promises to be a treasure trove!

If the day is still young I will hop in the car and make my way to Fallingbrook. I used to live in Falling and Ridgemount so shopping in this part of town is no surprise to me. The sales will be plentiful and the people, sweet as always.

The community of Fallingbrook will be hosting its annual garage sale on Saturday May 24, all day long. Make your way through the streets and do not forget to bring your eco-friendly bag. I always forget and end up in an awkward juggling act by the third house visit.

So here is the deal I am moving in a month and a half (my place officially sold) and still need to find a new home to buy. Nothing says I can’t imagine it and get some sick new furnishings in the meantime. I will report back on the things I see, the people I meet and the items I buy this Saturday.

Before going to promising sales I do 3 (well it’s sort of 5) things:


1. Brush up on my values and identification. I bought a book last week titled, Warman’s Bottles Field Guide 3rd Edition for $6 at a local book store called Black Squirrel Books. 

The plan is to read all about bottles over the next few days so my eyes are sharp to spot the top bottles.

2. Go online and search my local classified resource to see what homes I should visit at the neighbourhood sale first. Note: All of the best places put there own ads up with photos. I have two three hot spots in mind for this weekend already.

3. Gas up, clean the car and run to the bank and grab some moola the night before. Nice gesture: Break bills into small change if you have the time…it is courteous. Sellers don’t like when they get a $20 bill for a $1 object. Holding small change also helps you to bargain more – the more cash you show – the more they know you have.

Friday is upon us and Saturday is only a few sleeps away.



Tip of the week: It’s all about the clothing and convenience

Wild Wednesday presents: An interesting perspective I got wind of today that is applicable to the everyday buying selections we make.

I was waiting for my Korean take-out to be ready this evening when I overheard a conversation about clothing and style.

Girl says;

“You seem to like fashion a lot, you always wear things differently than other people, have you thought of becoming a designer?”

Guy says;

“It’s all about the clothing and convenience.” He went on to say how he wears things that work for him from both a practical use and fashion conscious point of view. His sentence (quoted above) really struck a chord with me. I felt like I just indulged in all the food for thought I needed for the day.

Funny how sometimes the things you hear in passing make you recall why you fancy antiques and vintage objects, especially when it comes to fashion. They explode effortless beauty and usually serve a distinct purpose.

If we apply this perspective to the olden days things we choose to buy there is definitely some value. Takeaway of the day for me is…

If you buy something don’t forget it’s purpose in your home or on your body. Make sure it is suitable to you and your level of comfort. Think about how functional it is and if you are an out of the box thinker, contemplate all the ways you can repurpose it.

Time to start making more room for captivating and convenient things in my life.

A vintage briefcase can be used as a briefcase or you can use it in your home to store some of your beloved scarves or ties.


Vintage Style: The Flapper Party Look

It’s the roaring twenties and you step out of your Lincoln L-Series Sports Phaeton with ornate cigarette holder gracefully held in hand.

A long pearl necklace gracefully drapes your neck and your short bobbed hair frames your face.

You stand up to reveal your sleek knee-length dress with dropped waistline and it moves in the wind slightly to reveal the sheer silk stockings and lace garter beneath it.

A quick dash is made to the ladies room to reapply your vibrant lipstick and dark eye make-up then you head to the stage with your high heel, button fastened Mary Jane’s. The lights are on and the music is fierce – the Charleston dance fills the floor. You break only momentarily to place your form fitting beaded cap and flirty fringe purse on the sidelines.

The Flapper look is sexy and comfortable making it often emulated. Want to know what to look for at your local vintage store to create this head turning look?

Buy a Dress:

Though it features a garçonne (vertical & boyish) shape it is still considered very feminine and tends to include a plunging neckline in both the front and back. Some of the dresses were made of flashy beaded and sequined material while others were more plain. They were all generally sleeveless and a bit more heavy weighted. Women often topped these off with a more voluminous shawl-collar coat.

Add Accessories:

The most popular accessoires were chandelier-style earrings, lighter coloured (or sheer) silk stockings, lace garter belts, narrow neck scarfs, long glass bead (or pearl) necklaces, intricate cloche hats or headbands with feathers. Shoes would of been comfy and classic for dancing the night away. Mary Jane’s were a dominant shoe. Don’t forget a pretty cigarette holder!

If you need help with 20’s make-up you should visit this Historically Accurate 1920’s Make-up Tutorial. For more on the full fashion of the 1920’s take a look at Pinterest’s Fashion and Apparel from the 1920’s. If you look through the fashion make sure to take note of some different hair options for those (like myself) who cannot pull of the Louise Brooks “Bob.”

To achieve this Great Gatsby look don’t forget to bring this shopping list I created to inspire you. Simply save the picture to your cell or computer. Check back often for more on vintage style and where to get it.

Flapper look shopping list
Flapper’s 20’s Look – Shopping & Inspiration List. Simply save the picture to your cellphone or computer.

Flapper: The term “flapper” first appeared in Great Britain after World War I. The exact origin of the word flapper is unknown. It is believed to have stemmed from a reference to a young baby bird that is learning to fly for the first time and flaps its wings. It was then thought to describe younger girls, not yet graceful in movement who had not come into womanhood yet. Adding to that in university campuses (post-World War 1) girls with unfastened rubber galoshes over their shoes often made the tops “flap” around.

Men’s Vintage Clothing – Styling and Shopping List

mens fashions 2Hello Fellas,

The good news is vintage clothing for men is becoming much easier to come by these days. The bad news is it can be hard to distinguish what pieces will be worthwhile additions to your existing wardrobe. Before you purchase vintage pieces it is good to consider a few important things:

Manliness & Fit: Take it from a woman, the worst thing is when a guy is trying to pull off vintage style and he looks too feminine or like he should be wearing things in a size up. There is a fine line between form fitting vintage clothes and vintage clothes that are too tight. A few signs a piece may not be for you is if:

  1. Your “package” is creating a prominent bulge in your pants (not in a good way). In short, your pants look painted on. 
  2. You try doing a minimal stretch and the shoulder area in your jacket feels too snug. Test movement of the piece. 
  3. Your wrists and ankles are very exposed when wearing full length garments. (Note: it is okay if they are showing a little) 

Try Mixing & Matching: Vintage clothes can age you if you don’t do it right. Wearing too many pieces of older clothes can in fact make you look older, especially if you already have a thick beard and larger glasses. The key is to not hide behind the clothes or let them weigh you down. Vintage pieces should be mixed with a few modern pieces to give you that overall sharp look. 

Suitability: Understand what suits you! Some people (myself included) can’t pull everything off. Know your proportions, existing style and plan accordingly. Ex. I look terrible in large sunglasses because of my face shape so I generally just don’t wear them.

I know it sucks when you find only one of something in a store and you try it on and it isn’t 100% what you hoped but sometimes you have to just put it back.

Now that you have digested a few style considerations why not add some vintage staples to your closet. Keep in mind when purchasing some of these it may be worthwhile to splurge on select pieces as you could have them for a lifetime.

Vintage clothing shows such as the one coming up in Ottawa this weekend may be a good place to start.


Jackets & Blazers:

Biker Style Leather Jacket: Should be black or dark brown with a bit of a worn/distressed look. Should not be longer than your torso and should be zip up with a high collar.

Military Style Trench Coat: Should be cotton, not pea coat material. Double breasted is your best bet! Burberry made some awesome coats in the past. Don’t forget to make sure it has its belt. I went to a few vintage stores lately and the trenches were missing the matching belt. Full length coat only. If you prefer a more polished look rather than casual pull a Don Draper (from Mad Men) and go for a high-collared tan trench that’s a bit more refined.

Barbour Wax Jacket: You can usually find them in a variety on cool colour combos. Be picky about the number of pockets. Too many pockets overpowers this jacket. Check for holes in the pockets and any re-stitching.

Tailored Tuxedo Jacket – A black satin lapel is always nice and allows this jacket to be versatile – easily dress it up or add some dark denim and dress it down. There are some nice wool blend tuxedo jackets out there. Some people love velvet ones however keep in mind velvet is kind of heavy so not ideal to wear in all seasons.

Timeless Tweed Jacket (with elbow patches): These jackets look smoking hot in a darker brown or deep blue colour. Obviously they are woven with other colours to make them appear a bit lighter. The darker the blend the more this jacket will make for a good evening look.

Shirts & Sweaters:

Plaid Flannel Shirt: Go for a long sleeve traditional flannel shirt. Try something a bit different and casual Friday appropriate and aim for no Christmas colours if possible.

Denim Shirt: Long sleeve only! Can be paired/layered nicely with flannel.

Band T-Shirts: Black & White band shirts are classic. It is also okay if there is a bit of fading, it just adds to the look. New can be overrated and doesn’t add that vintage vibe. Authentic T’s are always rockin.

Chunky Knit Crew Neck Sweater: Any colour. It is also a good layering piece. You could also try a Cable Knit Sweater. Get a colour that brings out your eyes and goes well under some of your work button down collared shirts.

Carefree Button Up Cardigan: These are so versatile and can go over dressy shirts or more casual shirts. The lighter the better than you can layer more. Go for standard colours like beige, black etc. so you can pair with more pieces.

Fun Times Fair Isle Sweater: Go for a fun knitted one with a bit of character. This is better for the Spring, Fall and Winter. Its a good conversation piece at a party. All the ladies (and men) will likely bring it up while chatting with you.


Jeans: Go for a slim straight leg pant. Dark washes are preferred! If you are going to get lighter vintage denim stay away from a long zipper crotch and high pockets on your butt.

Thick Chinos: Also try and find a straight leg. These pants look great in tan or navy.

Looking for a full ensemble?  Pair these items above with a pair of Brogue or Chelsea boots and you are good to go. Come back for more next week on men’s vintage accessories – ties, hats and sunglasses oh my.


Furniture styles over the years Part 1

2Hey Readers,

It’s almost the weekend and that means you’re getting closer to wandering through a sale or showroom just to find that wicked piece of furniture.

I appreciate the craftsmanship of older furniture, I just do. It is long lasting, solid and there is something so natural about it.

While buying brand new can be somewhat fulfilling, I much prefer searching through a pile of someone else’s junk and giving something a new life in my home. Since my home is petit I often buy stuff for other peoples bigger homes.

By purchasing old works of art you are likely not just getting a better deal but you are recycling, thus being eco-friendly which solidifies why this is the delightful way to go.

Over the years furniture has changed just like our fashions have changed. Next time you go furniture hunting try to classify the furniture you see – its rather fun.

Even if you don’t see these antique styles of furniture everyday it is still empowering to know the progression of furniture over the years. Here are some furniture design characteristics and elements (in keyword format) from the earlier years.

Jacobean Style 1603-1688: Straight lines, ornate carvings, darker wood finishes, arcades (succession of arches), pilasters (flat columns decorating furniture), medieval look, English style, classy shapes and solid construction.

Early American Style 1640-1700: England influences, very basic design, functional, large in size, made of local woods and have minor decorative aspects.

William & Mary Style 1689-1725: Oriental influences, heavy, trumpet legs (end ball piece), prominent carvings, caned chair seats and strong Dutch characteristics.

Colonial Style 1700-1780: Conservative and encompasses different period furniture styles such as Jacobean, Early American, Queen Anne and Chippendale.

Queen Anne Style 1702-1755: Elegant, tall looks, simple curved lines, cabriole leg, delicate, refined, sophisticated, walnut wood and bat wing shaped drawer pulls.

Georgian Style 1714-1770: Pediment at the top, ornate carvings, gilding, claw feet, cabriole legs, mahogany wood and a luxurious/royal feel.

Pennsylvania Dutch Style 1720-1830: American style, decorative hand painted motifs, distinct, German influences and large in size.

Chippendale Style 1750-1790 (not to be confused with the touring male dance group): Straight or classic curved lines, cabriole leg, ornate natural images, (example birds), distinct knobs and mahogany wood.

Federal Style 1780-1820: Circular top, geometric shapes, square tapered legs, very ornate, elegant, maple wood and cherry wood.

American Empire Style 1800-1840: Decorative, visual, elaborate, heavy fabrics, luxury, gold filigree and mahogany wood. *Some linkages to Federal Style.

Shaker Style 1820-1860: Simplistic, functional, clean lines, woven chair seats and no carvings or moldings.

Victorian Style 1837-1910: Heavily carved pieces, dark finishes, gothic style and loads of embellishments.

Edwardian Style 1901-1910: Smaller, mahogany wood, relaxed and an eclectic mix of styles.

Art Nouveau Style 1880-1910: Dynamic, asymmetric shapes, patterns or motifs of natural forms like trees, curvy waves, leaves and branches.

Part 2 will capture some more recent furniture styles including  Art Deco, Scandinavian Contemporary Style and Mid Century Modernism. While Part 3 of this series will be all about architects & designers that made a name for themselves and classified their own furniture styles.

Part 4 and 5 will dive deeper into the furniture styles and the history behind each time period. I will be sure to include images where possible.

Come back soon for more on popular furniture styles and what make each of them unique.

*Please note the time periods (dates) noted above are represented as accurately as possible. They do not only indicate when specific ruler (of a set period) passed away but may be dated long after to incorporate when the furniture style was prevalent until.