Finding Trouble

cover c1b C2b

While I was in Texas last summer, I managed to visit at least three thrift stores. Sadly, none of those stores compare to the quality of vintage goods that I can find from the stores here in Toronto. Well, except for this one lucky find. Of course every find is a lucky find but this one is what I’d like to call a “luckier find”. I was about to leave after browsing through the racks without finding anything interesting until I glanced upon a plastic box on the floor. And there I found this vintage trouble lamp tangled together with the other lamps and lights inside the box. I’ve always wanted one and I love the fact that it’s rusty and rugged.

Upon my return I thought of a way to mount it and knew exactly what to do the moment I saw my IKEA Forsa work lamp. I’m ok with the IKEA lamp, after all it is inspired by old work lamp designs, but I wanted something with more character and something that can take a bigger bulb. So I snipped the wire off and removed the head. I just inserted the table lamp into the rubber ring and voila, this is the result. I hope you like it. Sorry IKEA, I just have to do it.

Doctor Dolittle

covercollage __


I thought Eddie Murphy was the original Doctor Dolittle until I saw this pull string doll lying among the heap of plush toys at Goodwill.

I don’t think I’m keeping this, and honestly I am not that thrilled to have found this one, but maybe somebody else will be if I finally sell items online.

The only reason why I bought him apart from the dirt cheap price is that I have had a few regrets before for passing up other old items and I don’t want that to happen again this time. After all, it’s not everyday that I get to see this kind of stuff.

Online price starts from about $15 up to $35 (ebay) for items in this condition – out of the box, some stains, missing top hat and draw string works but doesn’t talk.

Brushes and Berries

Fine quality shoe brushes and shoe care products and a vintage still life print reproduction in a primitive frame. What can get better than that? The fact that they're all free – that's what!

Fine quality shoe brushes and shoe care products and a vintage still life print reproduction in a primitive frame. What can get better than that? The fact that they’re all free – that’s what!

Vintage print of "Still life with strawberries" manufactured by Winde Fine Prints from around the '50s or '60s. Online price: Starts from $7 to $20. Got it for – ZERO.

Vintage print of “Still life with strawberries” manufactured by Winde Fine Prints from around the ’50s or ’60s. Online price: Starts from $7 to $20. Got it for – ZERO.

These are really fine quality products made by fine brands. Score!

These are really fine quality products made by fine brands. Score!


Living in an apartment building may not allow you to have a nice backyard of your own. However, there are lots of advantages as well and one of those is the abundance of freebies in the form of discarded but still useful items from other residents.

Down in the basement of our building is where the big garbage disposal bins are kept and some really thoughtful residents keep some of their still useful garbage on a small shelf near the bins, in case some other people (like me) can make a treasure out of their trash.

Lucky day for me! The print sells for at least $4.99 at the thrift store and when sold online it can be sold for $7 to $20 depending on the dealer and on the condition of the print.

An interesting thing to note is that, the brand Dack’s has been around since 1834 and the logo seen on the shoe brush is what they used during the ’20s to ’30s. I really believe this stuff belongs to a dapper old man who cared a lot about his shoes.

A Tale of Two Tins (and a Hanger)



There wasn’t much at the thrift store today but I didn’t go home with my backpack empty. I scored two collectible tins and a vintage multi-clip hanger (what for? I’ll tell you later)


Vintage collectible fruit cake tin from Wonder Bakeries Limited, Montreal – from the ’60s. Now why is this a score? Because the online price is $35 to 40. I got it for just .99c.


Another collectible tin from Fillerys Toffees Ltd, Birmingham England – made between the ’50s and ’60s. Online price is at least £10 although one similar item was priced with a ridiculous $40.

Some people use this to hang pictures or art. I plan to use this as a “notice board” for my workspace. Online price: starts from $12 to $25. Got this for $2.99 – a little expensive for me but…


I have this thing for packaging and I always try to save good-looking and clean blank boxes from the bin whenever I can and keep them for future use. It’s only natural therefore that I also like tins – they’re packaging after all. In fact this whole vintage collection thing of mine started with a modest tea tin that I got from a flea market in Dubai.

The tins section is one of the areas that I keep an eye on when in a thrift shop and today I got lucky. I’m keeping them for now but maybe I will re-sell them in the future.

The Beautiful Couple


Whenever I go to my most favorite thrift store called Value Village, I usually go directly to the furniture and luggage section to check for vintage suitcases. After a few visits and not having any luck, this time I just went in rather lazily while checking other things out first. I had a few things in my hands when I decided to head to the luggage section and when I saw these two leather suitcases, I literally dropped everything I was holding on the floor just to secure these two. It was a “lucky” day indeed because nobody showed any interest in them except myself. More importantly, the antique dealers and the collectors were not yet present. Otherwise, these two could have been taken.

The good things: The cowhide leather is still soft enough not to crack when the cases are opened. What’s more, the original keys are there which give it more value. It’s seldom for suitcases of this kind and age to have their keys with them. The Canadian flag sticker is also a bonus. Inside,  they’re clean and do not smell!

The bad thing: There’s none really!

Online value: Starting price for each online is $60 up to over a hundred excluding shipping.

This is a real score!

Old School Soul


There are two things that I like for as long as I can remember – old things and garbage.

First, the old things. Nobody taught me or told me to value old things and look at them in a different way. When others find old things just that – old and outdated, I on the other hand see beauty in them. Maybe it’s because more than the old thing itself, I long to live in the old days when life was simpler and old things remind me of those days.

I once told myself that someday if I get rich, I’ll have  a room with nothing but (you guessed it) old things. Only that day is yet to come and so far, it seems like it’s not going to come anytime soon. Then I decided, I don’t have to wait for that. I can start small. And that’s what I did after a lucky inexpensive find at the flea market (in Dubai) sparked the idea.

Now about the garbage. Just like my natural fondness of old things I have these penchant for scouring through discarded things (trash, garbage, crap, etc.). I don’t know why, but I like the idea of finding unexpected treasures from trash. And just like old things, useful finds from the bin could come with stories and their own character too. Best of all they’re free!

After many failed attempts to chronicle and share (blog) the many happy finds that I have over the years, I have finally found the time to start this blog. Living in Canada brings me closer and gives me the access to gigantic thrift shops – the ones that I have only seen on youtube. And with the tried and tested formula of ebay and other online shops, the time to start my collection couldn’t be anymore right. I won’t be collecting just for myself (and don’t worry I’m not a hoarder). When the right time comes, I’ll be selling some of them too. That is the plan!

To those who share the same idea about old and discarded things, I hope you will find my future posts entertaining (or inspiring). For those who don’t, I hope this will somehow change your idea just a little and give that old thing lying somewhere in your home a second look and see it in a new light.