Yard Sales – Out in Seattle

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 | 2 comments

Yard Sales – Out in Seattle

After selling up everything in various Trade Me listings, garage sales and car boot sales, it is fun to be out garage sale-ing again as a buyer.  Seattle seems quite refined when it comes to garage sales as they don’t start until 9 or 10 and go on all day.  I just popped into one at 3.30 and it was the best one yet – and run by an elderly Australian woman clearing out her basement.  No Danish chairs like last week, but I did manage to buy a duck, a white ware vase by Haeger Potteries, a US version of Crown Lynn, a Hawaiian ukelele, a Japanese fan and a clothing hamper that looks like it is from the 50s (white painted wicker with a wooden lid) – all for $1 each!  Nothing like hitting the sales late for the real bargains.

Some of my yard sale finds!

My vase on the Haeger website :)

And earlier we had found a simple wooden outdoor table and chairs that were on the footpath, put out for free.  Just what we needed!  People aren’t crazy Trade Me (or eBay or Craigslist) addicts like we are in New Zealand so there are bargains to be had!

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Trade Me: Amazing What Sells

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 | 0 comments

Trade Me: Amazing What Sells

We are selling our lives on Trade Me in preparation for the big move later this month, and it always surprises me what ends up having all the attention.  I have had these two wrought iron gates stored under the house for so long.  They used to be part of an outdoor wall that I had to remove.  I love them and always intended to use them in the garden again, but that time has come and gone so I put a crappy photo up on Trade Me and listed for $20.  I had thought about just selling them at the garage sale next week, but I had time, so why not?

The gates from my Spanish Mission house.

It was worth putting them on.  There are still 4 days to go, I have 54 watchers, 7 bids and they are up to $51!  I didn’t expect it.  I guess vintage gates are hard to come by, and if I love them, maybe other people have similar taste to me.  You can see the listing here.

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Retro Find: Gem Irons (with recipe!)

Posted by on Feb 3, 2013 | 1 comment

Retro Find: Gem Irons (with recipe!)

Well I’ve been trying to write a post for a month, but this damn house, this damn move and (mutter mutter) my child is weaning off his day sleeps – everything has been thwarting me!  But onto more interesting things – my favourite finds in the holidays (Happy New Year by the way!) were two gem irons.  Yes, I can now make ginger gems, and they were every bit as delicious as I remembered.  And why are they so delicious, you may ask.  I can answer that: because the recipe  includes a half cup of golden syrup for 16 gems!  That’s a lot of golden syrup, no wonder they are so yummy.

My first attempt at ginger gems

I got my irons on trade me – I had a sudden realisation that I would not be able to buy them in the US, so I needed them now.  And I whipped up my first batch immediately, sizzling away in the cast iron.  Irons do come up on Trade Me quite often, but make sure you get the cast iron ones, not the aluminium ones as they don’t do as good a job.  I found some aluminium gem irons at an op shop but they didn’t make great gems.  If you want new, you can also get  new gem irons for $70 (yikes!) at the Home Store here.

One of my new gem irons

This ginger gem recipe is from the recipe book Ladies, a Plate: The Collection - my sister gave it to me for Christmas and it is a wonderful reference for traditional New Zealand baking (I’ll do a full review later on).  I recommend it for any keen New Zealand baker.

Anyway here goes the recipe (just writing about it makes we want some, so I think I’ll make them again tomorrow):

150g Flour

50g Sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

60 ml milk

1 egg

150g golden syrup (about 6 level tablespoons)

1 tbsp butter

And about 55 g extra butter for greasing the irons

Preheat the oven 230 degrees C.  Put the ungreased irons in the oven to heat just before mixing.

Sift the flour, sugar, spices and salt into a large bowl.

Dissolve the baking soda in the milk.

Whisk the egg until light and fluffy – about half a minute with a rotary hand beater (which I don’t have so I used my electric beater).

Heat the golden syrup gently in a small saucepan, then add the butter and stir to melt.

Now work quickly.  Tip the golden syrup into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon – it will be quite dry.  Don’t try to combine it all, just tip in the egg, mix again briefly, then lastly add the milk.  Stir for a few seconds.  It will now be soft dropping consistency.  Set aside.

Take the gem irons out the oven and put on heatproof board. Drop about 1/2 tsp of butter into each space.  You don’t need to spread the butter, it will move up the sides when the mixture goes in.

Now take an ordinary tablespoon and spoon the mixture into each space.  If you let it drop from the side of the tablespoon it will fall neatly into place (makes 16 gems)

Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and brown.

Take out of the oven, leave for a few minutes, then tip out onto a rack.

Yum yum yum!


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Retro Find: Vintage Hawaiian Dress

Posted by on Dec 12, 2012 | 0 comments

Retro Find: Vintage Hawaiian Dress

Sometimes you walk into an op shop and you just know you are going to find something.  I popped in to a Hospice store on the way to Scandretts Bay, North of Auckland.  It was an op shop like we used to have in Auckland – not overpriced, full of interesting and odd things, and with lovely helpful staff.  I had the Kid with me so sadly couldn’t lose myself for hours as I would have liked to, but did manage to have a bit of a rummage.

And the first thing that I found was the only thing I ended up walking out with – this gorgeous vintage Peggy Wood Hawaiian dress.  And the best bit is that I can squeeze into it right now!  I hope with another slow 6 months of baby weight loss, it’ll look amazing.  It looks made for a short person like me.  The other best bit was the price – $8!

It is made from cotton, with what I think is a floral batik pattern printed on it.  It has an elastic side gusset and a fab sarong skirt.  Just lovely.

Peggy Wood, Honolulu, Hawaiian Dress

The gorgeous neckline, showing the batik pattern

Looks like the sarong skirt is a signature for Peggy Wood – love this one found on Etsy


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Retro Find: Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Pink Magnolia Print

Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 | 1 comment

Retro Find: Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Pink Magnolia Print

Sorry to have abandoned you all the past few weeks.  We put our house on the market last week, and have been spending every spare minute hammering, planting, and cleaning!  Now we just have to do a little more painting and most importantly with a toddler in the house, keep it clean!  I’ll post some pictures later on the week of all the work we’ve been beavering away at.  The house is looking pretty good.

It feels like luxury sitting here typing away on the computer during the kid’s naptime (and I’m eating chocolate cake, so it’s even extra decadent)!

Somehow in the middle of all this I still managed to collect!  And I’m meant to be de-cluttering.  But hey, when a beautiful Tretchikoff print comes your way and is affordable, what is a girl to do?  I found this original print from the 50s on Trade Me and it is in mint condition!  I have lusted after owning my own Tretchikoff for a number of years, but I just found it difficult to pay $200-$300 for a print.  Stingy I know, but I just couldn’t do it.  And then, as I have a number of other retro prints of women, it was hard to buy yet another!  Then this wonderful magnolia print came up – it closed on a Friday afternoon (and I missed the auction) but luckily I checked my email just after the lovely Juliette posted an offer, and I snapped it up.  I can’t believe the perfect condition it is in.

‘Pink Magnolia’ by Vladimir Tretchikoff

I have it hanging on the wall in a living room, so I’ll take some snaps and post later.  It makes me smile every time I walk past it.

New Tretchikoff Prints

Want a Tretchikoff print right now?  You can find them at – the perfect Christmas gift for retro-lovers!

 Pink Magnolias


Pink Magnolias Vladimir … Buy This at

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Little Op Shop Finds

Posted by on Oct 12, 2012 | 0 comments

Little Op Shop Finds

Sometimes it’s the little finds you uncover at op shops and garage sales that give you the most pleasure.  I didn’t think I’d had much luck op shopping recently until I looked back at the things I had found.  I’ve found some lovely things but they’ve just been small.

Every time I go into my kitchen at the moment, I smile at my bright retro linen tea towels I bought at a car boot sale – $1 each!  I love tea towels and have a big collection of souvenir ones that I use.

British-themed retro linen tea towels

And the two crocheted flower brooches I found at my local op shop will make great presents – bargain at $3 for both.

op shop finds, thrift store finds, op shopping Auckland

Crochet flower brooches – a bargain!

And how about these 1950s distressed bathroom scales – just $5 at the op shop.  I didn’t need them, but I couldn’t leave them behind when they looked so cool – pale yellow and black!

op shop finds, op shopping Auckland, thrift store finds

Distressed 1950s bathroom scales

My favourite has to be this retro pull-along wooden toy that The Kid loves.  I love it too – $3 at the car boot again!

car boot Auckland, op shop finds, op shopping

Vintage wooden pull along toy – love!

Yep, I’ve been lucky recently…how about you?



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