Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thrifting ... Canadian Finds


Another week and we're into April already, and I'm still waiting for the weather to improve just a bit to drag out the patio furniture.  The snow is all but gone from this area near Lake Ontario now, but my yard isn't all that inviting yet ... and it's just not warm enough to sit out there comfortably ...

 
Inside, the house plants are doing fairly well.  I don't normally have a lot of house plants, but I'm glad they've been around this winter.  I'm really pleased with my little green shamrock.  I asked at our local nursery what's the best thing for a shamrock since mine is surviving, but it's not thriving.  She told me they like bright light, but not direct sunlight, liquid plant fertilizer, cool temperatures and to water it by placing it in a pot of water and let the plant draw up what it needs.  I was already providing everything but the bottom watering system, and within a week my little shamrock had filled out really well.  The centre of the plant was very sparse, but now there are lots of new leaves filling in that area.
 
 
 
This week I decided to drop into our thrift store for a little browsing again.  There've been a couple of things I've been looking for.  One being a small night table for my daughter's bedroom when she comes home from university town (she took most of her bedroom furniture with her).  I was happy to find a perfect little table and will show it once I get it cleaned up a bit.
 
Since I was already in the thrift store, I of course toured around to see what else I could spy.  I found this big beauty of a tea pot right away ...
 
 
My parents had this exact tea pot when I was growing up.  I think it must've got broken not long before they moved their house (maybe it got broken during the move, I don't know).  It's nothing fancy, and the only writing on the bottom is "Canada", but it's just so familiar to me, that I picked it up off the shelf with a sort of reverence.  It could easily have been their very own tea pot, and I really, really like it.  More and more I'm noticing that I have a lot of brown in my dรฉcor.  I keep picking up brown dishes and now another brown tea pot.  I also have to admit that I officially do have a tea pot collection.  But I swear, this is where it's going to stop.  I don't have many ... four brown tea pots and one stainless steel, but I don't have the desire to have any more than that (and I honestly use them all).
 
Now this little mug is only a couple of inches high, and it has a little story.  My mother's grandfather was a potter, and his family also owned a tile company in Hamilton.  They made clay tiles and even supplied a famous house in Hamilton (Dundurn Castle) with sewer tiles.  I have a couple of pieces made by my great grandfather which are very special to me.  I believe my mother grew up with a fondness for pottery because of her close association with her grandfather. 
 
This little mug was made by a company called "Blue Mountain Pottery" from Collingwood.  There used to be a potter's store in Dundas where I lived when I was very young called "Dundas Pottery".  My mother, being very fond of pottery, used to take us kids into the store and we were allowed to choose something from the "seconds" shelf (pieces that had small imperfections and were cheaper), and they carried Blue Mountain pottery.  This is the mug that I chose many years ago.  Not much good for anything, but it was cute.  Blue Mountain Pottery is apparently now defunct, but you see this stuff everywhere here.  Because it's so common, I've always thought it was kind of tacky looking.  But in clearing out my parents' home, I came across a couple of nice pieces that I brought home with me ... a vase and another mug.
 
"BMP" Blue Mountain Pottery
I notice that the thrift store is under the impression this stuff is a collector's item, and maybe it is, so they price it a little higher than the other china.  Anyway, I found this stylish little jug in the thrift store which I will use as a bud vase ...
 
 
The glaze used on this pottery is always the same.  Apparently, the original potters developed this glaze as it reminded them of the colours in Blue Mountain.  Surprisingly, there are some Blue Mountain pottery pieces at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Canadian display with a write up about the pottery.  So now, without even trying, I have a collection of Blue Mountain pottery too.  I don't see myself expanding this collection as it really only holds sentimental interest to me ... I still feel it's sort of tacky.
 
 
I also found a nice wicker basket, and I have a problem with letting these nice baskets remain on the shelf ...
 
 
... and it came in handy for carrying all the stuff home with me that day (in the rain).  Now it's holding my latest knitting project.
 
 
The project is only in the planning stages.  I'm not sure if I'll even finish it (or frankly, start it!), and usually I don't like to say "I'm going to make [this]" because I feel rotten if I don't complete it.  I'm going to attempt to make a man's vest for my dad.  I'm already off to a bad start.  The pattern is old, from the 60s, and it calls for "double knit" yarn(?).  I tried a swatch with "worsted" weight, and have already gone down five needle sizes and knitted five swatches trying to get the gauge right.  The swatch is still too large and I'm quickly getting discouraged.  I'm at a size 2 needle now, but I am not going to knit worsted on these teeny tiny needles.  So no promises.  I might try it with a lighter weight yarn, but I've already bought two skeins of yarn to experiment with, and really don't want to waste money on a third.  Sometimes I still hate knitting.
 
Well, that's it for me.  I hope you've all had a nice weekend.  Happy Mother's Day to my British friends!!  We "celebrate" ours in May. 
 
Thanks for stopping by!
 
Wendy

  
Hoping for more of this soon!
 
 
 
 
 

23 comments:

  1. I like your BMP - it has it's own character and style. It is always nice to have things just because they have a sentimental value!

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  2. Yay for Spring!! It won't be long till your patio is looking perky with sunshine and flowers. The granny bonnet (aquilegia) is pretty....I love them. They grow like weeds around our li'l ole abode. Your Shamrock is looking as if it is very, very happy...so pretty. I would like to encourage you in your knitting of your dad's vest. Figuring out tension and needle size is a pain...but you'll get there. I knit double knit (8 ply) a lot and use 3.75 and 4.5 needles...but I am a tight knitter. How lucky you were to find a teapot that reminds you of your parents' one. I'm with you I can't seem to resist baskets as well....a few too many seem to come home to live with me!!

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  3. Your shamrock is blooming so pretty and live plants are so good for the air inside out homes. And I love pottery and try to collect a variety of it...especially from local potters. I love handmade best. And how neat to find something from your childhood...the tea pot. You'll really enjoy using it. Enjoy your evening my friend! Hugs!

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  4. Must admit,I'm with you on the BMP.
    Jane x

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  5. Nice finds! I can't leave baskets alone either...

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  6. I'm jealous of your backyard, I was in ours today and there is still 1-2 feet everywhere. That teapot must have been waiting for you to come along and take it home, it should bring some comfort to tea time.
    My few pieces of BMP is still out on display, I've never tired of it.

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  7. I hope the snow is all gone soon. It looks like it's melting fairly quickly, which is good. Your finds are lovely and I enjoyed hearing the history behind the mug and cup. I love baskets too but that one is much nicer than what I typically come across when thrifting. Have a great week, Wendy.

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  8. Great finds! I love them all, especially the brown teapot. Since you don't know for sure what happened to your parents teapot, it is, perhaps, possible that this is the very same teapot! Years ago, I had donated some books; last year I was in a thrift shop, saw a book I immediately fell in love with on decorating and bought it. Imagine my chagrin when I opened it up at home and saw that I had written my name right behind the title page. Things have a way of coming back, sometimes.

    Blessings,
    Victoria

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  9. Isn't it funny, how time and time again, we are drawn to objects from our childhood, and we buy them to recreate that feeling of home? ... I know that feeling well, my home is full of childhood nostalgia! I absolutely love the chair that the shamrock is sitting on ... such a warm, worn wood ... this I would never paint! I also love the big checked chair, a lovely place to curl up in when it all gets too much ...

    Hope the sun shines this week, Wendy, and your patio chairs make a comeback!

    Love Claire xxx

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  10. Wow, I want to go to the thrift stores you go to! Great finds.

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  11. I agree with Kim about the yarn. Double knit is 8 ply and sometimes known as light worsted. The usual needle size for this is 4mm. Worsted is thicker and sometimes known as Aran and the usual needle size is 5mm or even bigger.
    Congrats on keeping your shamrock alive. We have never managed that here!

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  12. I really like the blue mountain pottery, but it is probably because I didn't grow up with it!! Your new teapot is a cutie! Hope that you enjoy using it. I am amazed at how big your shamrock is, I imagined it was a lot smaller, it looks as though it is very happy! Hope that you have a good week. xx

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  13. I use baskets to hold my projects too. i find looking at the things collected there, give me inspiration.
    Hope you sort out the tension before you lose heart.
    jacqui x

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  14. So good to hear the snow has gone from your area Wendy, and also happy to see your little shamrock thriving so well now - it's so very pretty, I really like it! Very interesting story about the pottery and I do like the little mug that you've kept over the years, it's very cute and green. Double knit was always 8-ply when I was a youngster in Britain but it sounds like that pattern is not British - it's a nuisance that needle sizes and plys of wool seem to have different names in different countries so I guess I'm not much help in that regard. Maybe it's even meant to be a 2-ply? Gosh, that is very fine! All the best with it anyway, and I'll be really interested to hear if you solve the 'mystery' of it! Have a lovely week, Joy xo

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  15. What beautiful finds!! As soon as my snow is gone I'll probably be dragging all my spring and summer goodies out too. I just can't wait!! :)

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  16. I think the Blue Mountain Pottery is gorgeous. I love handmade pottery. The glaze color is gorgeous. And the little jug is adorable. The hunt is always fun but the finds are even sweeter. Wishing us all warmth and flowers to stay...very soon!

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  17. How awesome to have such a family history in pottery! And how fantastic that your mom exposed you to this wonderful art form!! Love that little mug you chose and I really like all of those pieces! I am drawn to that glaze...when I was in school I would always seek out more turquiose toned glazes myself! And I am pumped that you found a teapot just like your folks..isn't that cool when that happens?!? Happy spring friend! All the best to you this week! Nicole xoxo

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  18. I love your collection of pottery, specially the small jug. I love its shape and the glaze. I think today's weather is much nicer and hope it will stay this way without going into minus and snow.
    wish you a wonderful week, Gaia

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  19. I'm glad the snow has gone for you & you found some lovely treasures. It's lovely to find something that you remember from your childhood.

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  20. Awesome to see the snow melting away... and even better to see your shamrock thriving all because of a simple change in how you water. I think your little bud vase and larger vase will be less tacky once you dress them up with some flowers. It is so wonderful that your mom let you shop the seconds to have an exposure to this art form at a young age. I love pottery because it is one of the most accessible art medims... meaning I can actually afford it and I really appreciate original art. Hope your week is going well.

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  21. It's amazing how different your garden looks without the snow. Great finds! S xo

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  22. Brown tea pots, baskets and Blue Mountain Pottery - I collect them all too! I love your tea pot! And how lovely that you found the one your parents had. My parents gave me their Blue Mountain Pottery, including the lazy Susan that my mom always served special dinner side dishes in. I have yet to use it, but I display it in my dining room. :)

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  23. Really good finds, I especially like the basket...I would have been unable to leave it on the shelf too.
    Marianne x

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