Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Love of Thrift Stores and Giving Back with Coram Thrift

My Abuela, back in 19 I Don't Know What
Since way back, when I was an itty bitty sugarplum (59lbs ago to be exact), I've been deeply in love with thrift store shopping. It was my top favorite "Hey look I'm finally driving and can go where I want, DUECES!" past time, which was incredibly convenient considering shopping was about all I was able to do during the time frame I was allowed out...hey I said go where I want not when I want.  As a child I would explore my grandparents basements and attics getting lost in my fantasy travels back into time. I'd sit around playing with vintage typewriters, packing my things in old suitcases and organizing my grandmother's cosmetics in vintage make-up boxes and bags, all while wearing one of her fabulous wigs, adorned in vintage jewelry and swimming in stylish clothing from her youth, most of which she made. If only I knew then that those red pumps I hoped to one day own would be too damn small for my feet by the time I was old enough to wear them. Why did they make people so tiny back in the day? Sigh. If only they had at least one picture of mini me all decked out to post here, but clearly they weren't thinking of this blog of the future. Smh.

Anyhoo, yes anyhoo, those days are gone, though I still play dress up in my grandmother's closet when I visit, and my tears are dried up from the sacrifice of her antique bedroom set from the 60's that no one could move for me when she left for Florida. I must admit though, as I am writing this I am mourning that little piece of mine and my grandmother's history I thought would always be a part of my life. So, naturally, love of thrift shops would fill the void of the absence of attics and basements to explore in my hometown of Queens Village. In thrift shops you find a myriad of things from antique home goods, vintage clothing and accessories to some fabulous one of a kind treasures that someone else no longer finds need for. I love to fantasize about the life the person who owned it had, what adventures they went on while wearing the clothes, what conversations took place and in what room the furniture was in...I just wish that each item came with a picture of the previous owner enjoying their loved items to further enhance the creations of my imagination. I could just see myself now gazing down into the photo and watching it come to life (I assure you, my neurologist said I'm ok up there in the nogin, thanks). I especially love it when I find something that was handmade, like a clay sculpture with the signature on the bottom. I feel like I am rescuing an abandoned puppy (kinda sorta). Normally I start fantasizing up some tragic story *because who in their right mind would give up something so beautiful that they or their child made!* which usually results in a happy ending where somewhere out there they are comforted that I found it and show it the love and appreciation it deserves (yeah, I know, I'm soooo dramatic~remember, "ok in the nogin").

Handbags Galore at Coram Thrift!
So, all that said, it should be no surprise that when my friend Sevgi Turkish Warrior and I were feeling kind of 'eh' last week, I scooped her up and headed out to Coram Thrift Store to drop off some of my own orphaned goods and check out what they had in stock. I love this shop because it's small and an intimate shopping experience. I love chatting away with the owners and customers ...ya, I know, it's like Beauty Salon gossip in my world (I don't frequent beauty salons, so this is as close as I get). Most of all, I always walk out with some one of a kind items at great prices! This visit was probably the most interesting of all visits. Why? Because I got a bit of background info from the owner Daniel, and as always mega warmth and customer appreciation from his lovely wife Vianey who I see more often. Daniel informed me that half of the earnings of the purchase of selected items are donated to a local soup kitchen. We have a large homeless population out here in this part of the suburbs, not to mention that you can't complain about the items you'd be purchasing to help the less fortunate. There were a lot of really great things, many brand new! Then Daniel was so kind to listen to me while I went on and on and on, blah blah blah, about my studies in art management and non for profit work, my plans on starting the Nifty Thrifty Stylist Closet, my fieldwork for Circle of Art Movement Project/blog and how I wanted to live my passions and incorporate various ways of helping others through it and with it. Bless his poor ears, but I am grateful. And bless his heart more when he told me this in response to my rambling: if I or anyone I knew of, read: anyone in general,  needed space to hold a sale or car wash for charity, he was willing to allow the use of his huge parking lot on the side of his store. I don't love washing cars but I LOVE outdoor sales, and ones for charity...even better. I also can't fail to mention that this is a great way to build a positive community while having charities, not-for-profits and small businesses cross promote one another by working together. If you have a charitable cause and are interested in joining forces with Coram Thrift, you will find their information after the photos at the bottom of this post!

Clockwise from Left to Right: Pic I: Full view of everything old, nothing new! I saved that beautiful white necklace from getting thrown out in a thrift store in Astoria, NY. I put it back together in less than 3 minutes with crazy glue and it's one of my favorite pieces. Not bad for free!; Pic II: Clay Sculptures I made reference to in the blarticle. I fell in love with these years ago, and the mezeta y pilon (mortar and pistol)  is representative of my culture and youth! Pic III: That Vintage Victoria's Secret perfume bottle belonged to my aunt in the 80's, vintage photo is my mother in her dance recital costume and that's a vintage mirrored vanity tray. I love those kinds of trays and I saw several at Coram thrift, larger than the one above, for only around $15. Pic IV: A feel good feeling. "Grace, 1977". That's who made my beloved mezeta y pilon. Thank you Grace, whoever you are, wherever you are! As long as they are in my hands, your creation will be loved and appreciated!

I bought both the necklace and earrings during my last visit at Coram Thrift. The necklace was most definitely hand made in a crafts class or activity. I fell in love with the color and the fact that the ball centerpiece looks just like those glittery bounce balls that I used to get out of a coin machine when supermarkets used to have them. I even love the imperfection; there are 2 different kinds of gold beads on either side of the center ball. My imagination has decided that a child made this beauty. The earrings on the left were the first thing I spotted when I walked into Coram Thrift. Within seconds of entering the store I looked at them and knew I would not be leaving without them. The blue looks like shimmer nail polish which gives it such an amazing effect. The nail polish is only in the picture since that's what I've been wearing with the new earrings.

The left is a treasure from Abuela's Attic! My grandma had some neat stuff lying around her house. I've had this for 13 years and I haven't grown tired of this necklace which once adorned my grandmother's neck. On the right is a unique vintage fish necklace with turquiose and coral beads. I also bought this at Coram Thrift for only $3 or $4...DASS IT!

More vintage treasures from grandma's world! The cuff bracelet actually belonged to my cousin's grandmother. The 3 pairs of earrings once hung pretty on my grandmother's ears.
As promised, the contact info to Coram Thrift. Please contact Daniel if you are interested in joining forces in cross promoting and charitable efforts or if you simply just want to find treasures of your own! Remember, bring me with you! ;)
In closing, thank you to Vianey and Daniel Farrell for another great shopping and social experience. It's so great to see dreams of charitable and personal goals unfold together and be incorporated with life passions and hobbies. I also believe this was my young friend Turkish Warrior's first visit to a thrift shop and she walked out laughing and saying what a great time she had, "feeling down, go to the thrift store!". Just make sure you bring me.

Thanks for reading baby dolls and please check out my friends at Coram Thrift Store! And bring me (in case you already forgot).

Besos, Beijos, Filakia, Kissies!

Lisa xo

P.S. As a funny side note, coincidentally my grandmother called me after I finished the first paragraph of this post. See our conversation here--->Rrrright here<---there you have it, way to go!

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