charity shop triumph

It seems these days that I only ever manage to get time to blog about the latest tat rubbish bargains I find in the local charity shops – I’ve got about a gazillion ideas in my drafts folder, pictures on the camera, and no time to actually shuffle it all into a legible post. But hey ho, here I am again, back with yet another edition of ‘look-what-I-bought-for-50p-this-week’.

The last couple of weeks have been good ones in the world of the thrift. Charity shops in Portsmouth are pretty hit-and-miss – it pretty much works out that it’s all or nothing; they’re either stuffed full of overpriced Primark and you come away empty handed, or it’s like the second-hand equivalent of getting three cherries on a fruit machine. Lately, I’ve been hearing the jackpot bell inside my head an awful lot – ding, ding, ding, vintage annuals, wooden toys and retro sewing baskets galore.

I’ll be removing that paper very carefully indeed.

I might as well start with the very thing that all my little treasures are sitting on – an old solid wood blanket box, lined with vintage paper. Look at that amazing floral print! I’m actually going to be removing it (and keeping it for future projects), and using the box itself as a planter in the garden. I’ve been spending absolutely ages finding things on freegle, freecycle and eBay to use as planters this year – I hate plastic flowerpots, and have a pretty definite idea of how I want the garden to look. Bunting, decoupage, wood, vertical planting, climbing roses… a cross between hippy-ish and recycled. This blanket box came from Sue Ryder in the city centre, and actually wasn’t on sale – it was what they were using to store all the old records that were on sale. A quick bit of sweet-talking meant that I got it for the bargain price of £20 – quite expensive in charity shop prices, but when you consider that a brand new wooden planter of the same size would cost almost double that, it becomes a complete find. Plus, I’ve got an excellent new craft resource in the paper. Double win.

I’ve got a bit of a thing for sewing baskets, and mostly I manage to resist these days, but when my beady little eyes rested on this beauty, I knew it would be coming home with me. Unfortunately, it was part of the tombola raffle-thingy in the local Barnardos furniture shop – never to be defeated, I asked if they’d consider selling it, and they asked for £1.99. I felt so guilty at nicking off with one of the raffle prizes, that I actually gave them £4.00. I often wonder if I haven’t quite got the gist of this thrifting lark…. When I opened it, I discovered it was stuffed full of cotton, a tape measure and some lovely vintage buttons – so definitely worth the cash.

I’ve had some right results with vintage comics and annuals lately as well – I’m always on the lookout for old Beanos, Dandys and suchlike, and have started to use them in crafty projects, after seeing a number of tutorials on the fab Lulastic blog. I was talking to the owner of the second-hand bookshop about using them, and was explaining how reluctant I was to cut them up, particularly when they date from the sixties or seventies, and he suggested photocopying them. I literally don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before – I’ve got a scanner and printer that mostly just sits unused in the corner… that’s about to change! It also means that I can copy anything I find and then post it to other vintage fans on the blogosphere – there’s nothing as good as sharing the love! I also stumbled across an old copy of ‘Little Star’ which is delightfully kitsch – bluebirds and pelicans and bears, oh my!

Easter is approaching, and while Benjamin will get a small amount of chocolate, I like to give the kiddos things that will last that little bit longer (and Lord knows he certainly doesn’t need any extra sugar!), so I was overjoyed to find this push along wooden duck in Sue Ryder, for the princely sum of £1.50. It comes with a long stick, and will be ideal for Daisy, although under strict supervision only – those beads look worryingly throat sized!

‘Thrift’ spelled out in thrifted bricks. Tracy Emin, eat your heart out.

Benjamin is currently obsessed with his wooden blocks. It started when we bought him a game of Jenga, which has actually yet to be used as intended, but has been subjected to numerous bouts of chewing from Daisy and several building sessions from the little man himself. A little while later, we found another box of Jenga in a charity shop, and then last week I found a whole back of shaped wooden blocks in The Salvation Army for the teeny tiny price of £1.49. Over the last four-and-a-half years, we’ve been completely overrun with plastic toys, and I’ve just had enough. From now on, it’s all about books, crafts and wood for gifts.

As usual, I’m linking up with the aceballs Missie Lizzie and the other lovely magpies for Magpie Monday. Join us!


  1. lightly enchanted
    February 25, 2013 / 12:53 pm

    Wow, what lovely finds. I actually got that little star book for Christmas when I was a little girl…shame I don't still have it.Totally agree about the modern plastic toys, they really don't seem to last either. 🙂

  2. Laura
    February 25, 2013 / 1:00 pm

    Ooh, fab finds. Love the blanket box and sewing box. Wooden toys are always a winner too. x

  3. Emma Kate at Painted Style
    February 25, 2013 / 1:00 pm

    Love the box and the retro paper! That kind of walllpaper is £9 a metre on ebay! I always pick up retro wallpaper for as little as possible at the boot sales. One day I will do something very cool with it.

  4. Mim
    February 25, 2013 / 1:07 pm

    You have no idea how happy it made me to find someone who's prepared to *copy* old paper material to craft with, not just cut things up. I hope you influence more people to go down the non-destructive route! (Honestly, it's a massive bugbear of mine!)

  5. Anthea W
    February 25, 2013 / 2:03 pm

    What a gorgeously colourful post! I adore those retro childrens books and toys, they remind me of the playroom my gran had in her house – full of things her children (my mum and uncles) had played with as kids. You are lucky to find them – all our charity shops ever have cheap plastic stuff and cuddlies… 😉

  6. Liz Burton
    February 25, 2013 / 2:49 pm

    What a great posts and awesome finds!I hope you manage to get that paper out in one piece it's gorgeous.I'm very impressed with your cheek/sweet-talking skills! Thanks for linking up x

  7. LandGirl1980
    February 25, 2013 / 3:16 pm

    Personally I love seeing what people find for 50p. It gives me hope that charity shops are still thrifty places to shop! Your garden and mine would be twins 🙂

  8. Helen - sittinginthekitchensink
    February 25, 2013 / 8:26 pm

    What good finds! Love the duck and the blanket box. Our charity shops are really hit and miss – either full of good stuff, or it's all plastic tat and primark tshirts!Your garden plans sound amazing!

  9. KatGotTheCream
    February 26, 2013 / 8:44 pm

    That sewing box is so cute as is the duck toy!Loving your Tracy Emin efforts too 😉

  10. Prune
    February 27, 2013 / 9:29 pm

    That Little Star annual seems very familiar to me -sure I had it as a kid, must take a rummage in my mum's attic. Thanks for taking me right back.

Leave a Reply