Monthly Archives: January 2009

The Lost and Found.

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Just a quick post to tell all you Minneapolitans about a new vintage and thrift shop opening soon called The Lost & Found. My pal Cullen Donovan is the owner and it’s located in Uptown off of Nicollet Ave, check out their site. You just know Cully isn’t messing around when he provides the the bus lines for you to his shop’s door. That’s him pictured above, sorta makes you want to stop in just to meet him anyways right?

While we’re talking about recycled clothing, the chair photo pictured above (by Designer: Tejo Remy) is from a boat load of recycled shirts and old fabric that is strategically bound together by what looks like flat black rope. I’m guessing it has a rough wood or cardboard frame in there to start the form of the chair off nice and sturdy. This is just one idea that has become popular since the introduction of the famous dutch industrial design group Droog began emphasizing their designs with more eco-friendly ideas. And you’d save yourself a couple GRAND as that chair is listed at $2,750 bones, WHAAAT?! I’m hoping they come out with a rocking chair version or I may just get antsy and try and make one myself. There is nothing that could stop  you from experimenting with this idea/ethic at home or just re-making the chair above, maybe you start with just a nice comfy circular ottoman? My point is that all thrift stores (especially the larger chains) reject and bail thousands of pounds of clothing each year. Try and ask if you could have some of it or at the very least buy cheap shirts from the store, you’d still be saving a ton of dough.

The third photo pictured are some patches I made about a year or so ago on my Gocco press. I found an old black denim jacket, washed it and slaughtered it into the perfect strips for patches to grassroots market my lil record label, Oddsmaker Records. I ended up getting probably close to about 50 strips out of that old jacket and when combined with about an hour or two of labor and some cheap white textile ink, they probably cost me a total of $10 to make. I still set out small stacks of these patches at the local punker stores and venues like Extreme Noise, Treehouse, and Fifth Element, etc. If you find a patch consider yourself lucky and stitch it onto your jacket or satchell because they’re almost gone!

“I would’ve named you Kingsley…”

Book update version 3.0.

Found a gold mine at a couple of the “up north” thrift stores. Out of all the books shown – none were over $2 each.  I found what I believe to be 3 of what HAVE to be the main influences for one of my favorite movies of all time, Wes Andersons’ “The Life Aquatic w/ Steve Zissou.” I mean check out those shots of Cousteau, the yellow helmet with the antennae, the baby blue diver suits, the red stocking caps, the sea lab research facility, fricking great!

Also scored some more old books with great illustrations in them, some vintage books on mammals and animals, Swedish people, a book on one of my favorite painters Mark Rothko (note: do not try to explain Rothko to your suburban parents, but if you are in NYC, just take them to the Guggenheim and the MOMA and let them experience them in person, so much easier to explain then.) I find myself defending a lot of minimalist/modern/pioneering painters which is frustrating sometimes. Some folks will rub the old “I could’ve done that” bullshit on you. Well, then… Why didn’t you? This artist is famous because they did it first. So grow up and respect it. People have been known to drop to their knees and pray/weep/smile in front of Rothko’s paintings. Find me someone who does that in front of a Norman Rockwell painting and I’ll show you a retard.

Final note/tip while we’re on the topic of art: when I attended art school a few years back supplies were extremely expensive, art school IS extremely expensive. I can’t imagine it’s getting cheaper any time soon. To all the ramen-eating art students out there, hit up a thrift shop. I’ve never NOT seen shelves full of new or hardly used sketch pads, paper, supplies, etc. I picked up the one above for $1.00 it apparently used to be belong to a gal named Sue Holmstrom. Thanks Sue!

More soon –

Go on, say it girl.

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One of my favorite blogs, and frankly one of the only blogs I’ve consistently read for over FIVE years now has been here. It’s Chicago’s own Jessica Hopper. Real good almost-daily reading, rants, and cast of characters. She comes in with a wonderful idea. I once had a semi-similar idea like this ‘cept mine is for mix-cd’s you bring to venues or record conventions. Put your freshly made mixtape in the box > Take a fresh one > Repeat at next show. Check it out and bookmark her blog!

“AND BECAUSE I KEEP THINKIN OF IT
How about instead of the next handmade market or craft market blow out at The Bottle or AV/Aerie, instead of everyone bringing all their purses or magnets or freshly knit soapdishes or earrings to sell, everyone competent enough brings their sewing machines, or sergers or what have you and people who can’t sew bring their pants they need hemmed or the coat with the buttons coming off it or their bag strap or necklace that they have just been taping together and instead of getting new bullshit, people get their shit fixed. For like $3-5 per item– $10 if you need a new zipper put in or something more intensive like that?” – Jessica Hopper

United Plates of America.

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Thanks to my new 3G iPhone (file under: brag), I’ve been able to GPS locate and more easily find some new thrift spots wayyyyy north of the Twin Cities. These spots aren’t very big but these older, smaller, “Podunk communities” can yield some of the best treasures. I picked up that sweet presidential plate that is literally from 1953 – the Eisenhower administration ($2.49). I can’t wait for my kids to someday see Barack Obama on a commemorative plate. Why plates? Who started that trend way back in the day? But it seems a fitting find with all the Obama inauguration excitement coming in the next week or so.

2009 has GOT to be better than 2008, I can feel it. Even if there’s less ching in our pockets, it has its upsides. Go see some movies or rent them, get to know your relatives, soak up some stories – do you know how your grandparents met? Do you know how your parents met? Ask, sometimes that shit is real good saga. Take a short roadtrip, get to know your state. Do something nice for your sweetheart, or go out and meet a sweetheart. You get my drift Chachi…? Recessions help us center and focus on the stuff that actually matters and makes us appreciate what we have. And don’t think I’m blind to the fact that I just stated that on a blog where I go and find crap in thrift stores 😛

My other finds were some nice vintage mugs ($.75 each) – designers get tingly when we see nice mugs. I also found another Canada mug. Nice design and real comfy handle. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the handle/comfort factor. A badly weighted mug can start your morning off shitty or you risk sloshing coffee on your threads. I got to visit Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod in 2006. It was really beautiful, lots of celebs have shacks on that island. Super expensive though, since everything has to be shipped in, a gallon of gas ran you like $6. I consider myself more of a west coast sorta guy though, and I’m gonna consider this a ramble where I jump off.

More later.

“I Knew A Man Bookjangles and He Read For You.”

I did a book post a few months back, so it’s about time I divulge my most recent absorptions. Let me start by saying that since graduating school a few years ago, I’ve had a lot more time to enjoy a good book. I average I’d say about a book every 2-3 weeks, or about 12-15 books a year. After you’re forced to read and write and sweat for grades in college you really do have to almost re-train yourself to enjoy reading for readings’ sake again.

All of the books pictured were purchased for under $2.99 (most were $.99 – 1.99). I’ll admit that being a visual person and a graphic designer, that it is indeed the book cover or spine that first attracts me to check out a book in a thrift store. I judge books by their covers. But aside from a pretty cool cover there are a few that fulfill two needs, like that 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea I picked up. A literary sin having never read it I know (and I will soon enough) but check out that cover and illustrations, so cool.

There were a few other visually stimulating books I picked up, like that Indian book, a book on Minneapolis’ new Guthrie Theater book, and a couple books on Crime & Punishment. The crime books feature nice illustrations and some totally gruesome content that has always fascinated me. It’s funny how only a few decades can make a bunch serial killers the butt of a volume of crime books. I’m a pretty liberal person and laugh at inappropriate times a lot. But sometimes I ponder how long it will take before 9-11 or the 35-W bridge collapse will be laughable coffee conversation material.

To wrap up I found some other misc books and mags. I found an old blank record book, not too unlike them ever-popular “Field Notes” books or those Moleskines. I also gnabbed a classic Dylan On Dylan Bob Dylan book, a stack of Readymade and Dwell magazines, a guilty pleasure of mine – an entrepreneurial/small biz book.

Secret Shopper

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Many of you have asked where the best spots are and to be honest, I feel its a personal decision based upon what the person is hunting for or prefers. Some of the thrift store chains are meticulously organized, and some are a helter-skelter heap of self-digging pleasure. I personally prefer the less organized stores like Salvation Army. Salv-Army has a small amount of organization but in general its more “clumped” sections of stuff, and this works just fine. Some of the larger chains like (Unique) are completely unorganized aside from their clothing sections. Unique has items spewing randomly from aisles that almost inundate the person’s eyes with shit. This random smattering of choices has made me literally pass through a Unique Thrift aisle 8x and missed certain items, junk store visual overload I tell you. That type of searching is a little too unorganized for me.

I’ve been to thrift stores in almost every state in the USA. Are there thrift stores up in Alaska? If there is – I bet they’re killer. Someday I’ll maybe make the trek. Some of my favorites are in S. California, Massachusetts, and right here in good old Minnesota. Some of the best spots in Minnesota are the ones up north. Here’s a great audio article link from MPR with “thriftstore aficionado” and Moorhead poet Kevin Zepper (pictured above with tacky snow globe).

Before you go, it’s POLL TIME again. Please keep in mind that the options are mostly local MN chains, but there is an option to add in your own answers. We’re excited to hear about some new hotspots! Take the poll, you know you want to.


Common Cents.

I’ve been seeing a ton of headlines and articles like these lately. Pulled this one off of Yahoo’s main page. For a second it made me panic that I’d have some new competition in my local haunts, but then realized I shouldn’t worry as not a lot of people are hunting for the same shit that I am, nor are there many people hunting in my rural hotspots. All in all, its a good thing for all of us and a middle-finger to hyper-consumerism.

My friend from Germany once told me that Europe doesn’t really have thrift stores or garage sales, she said they also don’t consume as much stuff, but she didn’t really know where it all went. She speculated a lot of it gets donated/shipped to eastern Europe/Russia and China, no joke.

It baffles me why we only seek deals and exercise frugality during “tough” economic times. It also makes me laugh when I think about when I have a family of my own – will I be THAT dad who insists we only buy/repair or recycle used stuff first? My kids will hate me for it but after college they’ll apologize to me during a lunch I’ll make them pay for and ultimately thank me for having turned them into the cool kids all along. Then they’ll buy me an electric (by then they will be) powered luxury Cadillac.