Thursday, September 29, 2011

flea market finds: something brown and something blue, also see-through

"Windy" is an understatement to describe the weather yesterday when i was out with a friend having a lovely stroll along Main Street. Considering the weather here in Gib is as unpredictable as a woman, this of course did not stop us from feeding our souls with fantastic stories of ... FOOD!... (well, also of family and folk tales). In the end, not only were our souls bounteous and recharged but also... we both scored lovely stuff at the local thrift shop!
first off are these five lovely J&G Meakin "not-quite-saucer-not-quite bowl" ironstone china. the reason i say this is because they're too shallow to be a bowl but not quite flat enough to be a saucer. anyway, i really am clueless when it comes to names and makes so let's just say this is a nice score for me :) they do have some wear in them but thats irrelevant as i plan to use them daily meself! i just love the retro brown color on the inside and the creamy one on the underside. there is almost a mid-century feel to them :)
apparently, J&G Meakin was an English pottery manufacturing company founded in 1851. in 1970, the company was taken over by the Wedgewood group and then in 2004, production ceased and the factory demolished. so they are now collectible items.
would you believe that this beautiful star was on its way to the bin when i found it? the ladies at the shop said i could have it for free :) yay! another one to add to my arts and crafts projects!
my last item today is a 9 and a half in. glass candle holder from Vidreco by La Mediterranea, a Spanish glassware company based in Valencia, Spain (since 1975). They make glasswares from 100% recycled glass. anything recycled is tops in my book ;)
the glass they use is mostly sourced from urban recycling bins and they are currently totalling recycled glass consumption of more than 5 million kilos per year. They use top designers who produce new collections each year and also collaborate on projects with other well known designers, such as Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, lending them the respectable air of being ecologically minded.

oh, did i mention their designs and colors totally blow my mind away?! do check their online shop here... pronto!

*linking to Thrift Share Monday @Apron Thrift Girl:)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

flea market finds: shake your booty!

i have long since learned that patience is a virtue and never is this saying more true than in my thrifting adventures. a few months ago, i found out that we needed a salt and pepper shaker for guests who wanted to spice up their food a bit more than usual. also, that said salt and pepper shaker should not break our bank BUT should be pretty enough to grace our table. true enough, a few months later, the thrifting Gods once more smiled at me as i came across these in my favorite thrift shop last week:
both have a glass bottom base with a stainless steel screw-off lid with a mark that says "18/10" (high grade steel). i just love how simple the design is but how elegant and unassuming they look
the mark on the bottom says UWO Germany-West. not much on UWO except that what they made before are now vintage pieces (both East and West Germany were officially unified in 1991)
*linking to Thrift Share Monday @ Apron Thrift Girl :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

my summer of berry delights

i discovered the delights of berries this summer! you see, being a tropical babe, i have never come across berries back home except in pastries. in my first year living here, i missed my guavas, marangs, durians, papayas, guayabanos that i used to gorge on back home. i saw and bought some "guayabas" (as they are called here) at the local Wednesday market and wrote about them in an earlier post. but that was just a once-in-a-blue-moon affair. i never saw them again! going to the grocery stores however, i saw berries in abundance during the height of summer. i decided to try them out. surprisingly, i found some of them delicious and very refreshing! i sometimes eat them as a snack!
one of my favorites are raspberries. they are soft and sweet but sometimes a bit tangy. sometimes too, i eat them with a bit of condensed milk (cream is too rich for me)
another favorite of mine are blackberries. they are juicy and tasty too! but i must admit they're just not that memorable for me
these red currants have a sharp, tart taste that assaulted my mouth the first time i popped one. as i ate some more though, i eventually got used to the taste. not really a big fan of red currants so i dont think i'd be buying them in the future
mmmmm easily my no. 1 favorite! eating blueberries was a surprise to me! they are lovely with a cool, minty taste. they are highly addictive too IMHO :)
strawberries are a staple the whole year but this summer they were especially sweet and juicy. i bought a whole box of them and they were sooooo nice to eat when the weather is hot. i am now officially a fan of these summer berries and not only do they supply me my essential Vitamins B and C but also of anti-oxidants and fibre that keep my body running A-okay :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

our place, our planet, our responsibility

Yesterday, i volunteered for Clean Up The World 2011, "a global campaign that inspires and empowers communities to clean up, fix up and conserve their environment". i am not new to volunteering as i have done this since i was a young girl and all throughout my university years. my mother was a community coordinator in the local elementary school then and she took me and my sister to remote communities in my country to advocate the "bayanihan" spirit in schools, clinics and even chapels! i am glad i've imbibed this spirit despite living abroad for a few years now.
to raise awareness for the campaign, we had a parade in Main Street
i think setting a good example to the next generation is crucial to sustainability. they must know that it is important to take care of our planet before it will be too late
i say start them young because mothers are the perfect role models!
after all the speeches (i say less talk, more work!), the children participated in an interactive focus group
there were art works made by school children that were very insightful
so which side of Gib would you like to live on? (i just want a house, really, it doesn't matter which side)
even cute doggies like Chobe said "aye!" to the clean-up (although he was eyeing my sandwich more often than i want him to)
after all the blah-deblah-deblah, real work begins! but first a pic going up the famous Referendum Steps :)
our group led by Tom Finlayson (the guy on the extreme left; he also happens to live on top of Referendum Steps) was assigned in the Upper Rock so we geared up and got ready for some pickin' under the hot sun. we had a couple from Germany (they were tourists) who volunteered (they just saw the poster one day before the event and decided to participate! how cool is that?!) come to think of it, there were only two locals who volunteered, Tom and the little girl! (yes, i know its not lunch with the mayor)
during our break, these two intrepid pickers had a little picnic under the trees....
the breeze was cool and the view was priceless!
you will know Tom's cat, Boots, is coming because you can hear his jiggling bells... he was just there for moral support :)
around 3:30 we decided to call it a day... we got 42 bags of trash and thats covering only a small area of the Upper Rock!
on top of the bags of trash, we also found this swivel chair, a mattress, 2 plastic chairs, two leather sofas, a small pram, and some big towels! my question is, how in heaven's name did these get up there??
in the end, i felt doubly fulfilled that i am part of the solution. since living here, i have observed a strong sense of community in Gib, as evidenced by the admirable solidarity during the recent National Day celebrations. i hope in the coming years, the Gibraltarians will not only pride themselves with this solidarity but also that they open their minds and their arms to include taking care of the planet where they also belong. a formidable fortress with a rich military history, the Rock has seen so many generations of Gibraltarians seek shelter within and outside its area. i hope and pray that Gibraltarians take care of it for their future generations to enjoy :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

happy 2011 National Day, Gibraltar!

every 10th of September is Gibraltar's National Day. this day commemorates the day the Gibraltarians were asked back in 1967 to whether they wished to be under Spanish OR British sovereignty, with institutions of self-government. the answer up to this day (and i suspect will never falter in the years to come) is a resounding "We will forever be British!"

this is the day where red and white is de rigeur and virtually every one you know is in Main Street! i can feel the pride in the faces of the people i meet and i think they very well deserve such a feeling. in this tiny nation that i have grown to love and now call my third home, i am happy to have been allowed a glimpse of how beautiful it is to feel like you belong.
i was with the mister's family the whole day and it was a chance to mingle with cousins and aunts and babies and tweeners and some coming all the way from the UK.. that explains why i forgot to take pictures :P and all i managed to take were these 30,000 red and white balloons flying high representing each and every Gibraltarian (can you even see them?)
the barbecue at the beach was a must! Catalan Bay was jampacked! and the heat was unbelievable! here is Nuria and Uncle Vincent manning the barbie. Auntie Pepi served her famous stuffed sardines and paella (SUPER YUM!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

flea market finds: Scandinavia!

i heart Scandinavian design! it was a movement that began in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland in the 1950's and characterized by high quality simple designs, functionality as well as affordability. Perhaps the most popular and easily recognizable of these that survived until now is IKEA (Sweden) and Bang and Olufsen (Denmark). i have been looking out for anything remotely resembling Scandinavian design here in Gib (in the fleas, i mean, aherm) but they never seemed to show up. until the other day...
these two stainless steel platters with teak handles were a bit rugged and dusty when i saw them in my favorite shop. they were buried under a ton of barware!
as you can see the teak handles need a bit of love but a good soaking and a good wood polishing can do wonders!
the mark i found in the long one says "Stainless Steel 18/8 Denmark" and in the small one is "18 Stainless Steel Foreign". apparently the numbers indicate the composition and grade of steel. the higher the numbers, the more corrosive resistant it is. these babies are top of the line!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

flea market finds: an Italian planter, a silver-turquoise belt and a Monopoly set

oh summer i never wanted you to end :(

the "-ber" months are officially here and have discreetly announced itself by way of sudden rainshowers and unwelcome low temperatures. im slowly weaning myself away from my favorite season, desperately clutching at the edges and reluctant to let go. but, as Aunt Hattie used to say (in the book by Michael Gates Gill, "How Starbucks Changed My Life"), "you can't rush the seasons. you got to let go, and let God". and so i will let go but in my heart, there will always be sunshine and palm trees.

to kickstart fall, one of my favorite flea has opened its doors and today i am sharing with you my gorgeous finds :)
truth is, i have spied this lovely vase/planter before but on closer inspection someone painted over it badly and the paint itself was chipped in some places. but for a pound, i reckoned i'd do some DIY on it and bob's my uncle(besides, i love things with character). when i got home though, i placed the bird's nest fern i won at the fair in it and it looked right at home!
this is an embossed detail of a cherub on the front (see chipped paint on the handle?)
i cant find anything much about this company online except that they usually do china in the early 70's so not really valuable but they sure make my little plant look like a million bucks!
this is a very heavy belt made of silver and some of the big oblong plates are encusted with turquoise
i found no marks on the maker but possibly this is either Middle Eastern or Native American
the mister had always wanted a Monopoly game and this portable travel set that i bought hastily for a pound would have been perfect except that i realized too late the little houses and dice were missing :( luckily, he remembered he had 3 blocks of dice from an old keychain somewhere and the houses we subsituted with little wooden beads that i got from an ethnic necklace i dismantled months ago for an arts project :) he was a happy camper :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

curbside shopping

in my second-hand life, i have often read about "dumpster diving" (or "skipping" as it is called in the UK) a LOT of times. in highly-developed countries, there is a lot of excesses not just in things but also in food as well. in the US, a lot of socially-conscious individuals and groups have taken their causes one step up by recovering perfectly functional things (i.e. furniture, appliances, decorative items, paintings, etc.) and foodstuff (i.e. restaurants, food stores, groceries, etc. throw away a lot of good food at the end of the day) from the dumpster (insert gasp here for those who are repulsed by the idea) by recovering them for themselves, sharing them with others and/or giving them to shelters and halfway houses for people who need them the most. this inspired the movement "freeganism" which is an "anti-consumerist lifestyle where people find alternative living strategies", according to wikipedia.

when i was living in Singapore, a saturday morning would be shattered by the familiar honking call of the "karungguni". a "karungguni" is a modern-day collector of unwanted items that visit each and every house in an HDB (which stands for Housing Development Board, a Singapore government housing agency). albeit with a more personalized service, the "karungguni" has a lot more in common with the dumpster diver than you might think.

what a lengthy introduction to an otherwise small post! but anyway, i am not in any way a "freegan" nor a dumpster diver nor a "karungguni" but i just want to share with you what i found in one of the dumpsters here in Gib! (insert gasp here because you are of the mindset that no one in their right mind would do this in Gib except the Moroccans!). even the mister was cringe-ing when i nonchalantly picked these two from the humongous dumpster.
now, before you mentally cross me off your friends' list in Facebook because i pick things up from the dumpster (after i extolled the virtues of it!) let me elaborate on how i "picked" these perfectly beautiful picture frames out of the "skip". first off, (1) i have never given a rat's ass about other people's opinion of me nor will i start now(this gives me complete freedom in everything i do), (2) i did it in 2 seconds flat! subtlety and discretion is the key :) (3) smile and act as if its the most natural thing to do in the world :D i am just happy that i did something good for Mother Earth. and oh, yes i already have a wonderful DIY project in mind for these lovelies!