Progress, and a Little Canadian Retail History

November 22, 2011

It's taken me a while, but I've finally managed to finish stripping my Craigslist dresser. It's funny, when you watch those decorating shows on TV, they always make this type of thing look so easy. Let me tell you, it's not. And the smell - Wowzers - it's a good thing I invested in a respirator. On a positive note, I emerged from this experience relatively unscathed - I only suffered one chemical burn, and it was a small one ;)

Anyways, I thought I've give you a quick peek at where I am on this project.
Stripped dresser
Stripped dresser drawers
(You can take a peek at what I started with here). Next up will be sanding, and at some point I have to figure out how to fix the missing veneer.
Simpson's logo on a dresser
Simpson's Logo
Anyways, while working on the dresser, I spotted something that indicated where it came from originally. This mark is a little hard to read, but it says Simpson's which was a department store here in Canada that is no longer in business.

Simpson's was started in Newmarket, ON by Robert Simpson in 1858. It thrived until 1870 when a fire completely destroyed the building.  Robert Simpson restarted his store in Toronto in 1872 as the city was rapidly increasing in size. The original Toronto store was on Yonge street, just north of Queen.

By the 1890's, Simpson's had over 200 employees and in late 1894 they moved to a new store on the south-west corned of Yonge and Queen Streets. Three months later the Simpson's store was again destroyed by fire. Undeterred, Robert Simpson reopened his store 6 days later in a rented building. He proceeded to rebuild on the same corner, and the bigger and better building was completed just 10 months later. It's still standing today.
The Corner of Yonge and Queen St - Toronto, ON
The Corner of Yonge and Queen St (
Simpson's underwent many changes over the years, expanding across Canada, partnering with Sears, and then in 1978 being purchased by the Hudson's Bay Company. The two companies brands operated separately across Canada until 1991, when the Simpson's locations were closed or re-branded as Bay stores. The last Simpson's store to be converted to a Bay store was the original on the corner of Yonge and Queen Streets. (More info can be found here)

On a side note - does anyone remember a 80's children's TV show called 'Today's Special'? Well, it was partially filmed inside the Simpson's building.
The Characters from 'Today's Special' children's TV show
Today's Special
I loved that show growing up - and for nostalgia's sake, here's a video ;)


I've Become a Stripper!!

November 11, 2011

That caught your attention didn't it?

No, I haven't decided that the only way to fund my home decor habit is by removing my clothing - I've started work on my Craigslist dresser.

I have to say, I think the outfit required for the type of stripping I'm doing is unbelievably attractive!
Stripping paint in respirator
Aren't I Sexy?
What do you think? ;)


Thrift Store Find: Silver Vase (and cleaning tip)

November 02, 2011

Whenever I visit a thrift store I head first to the furniture section in the faint hope of finding something fabulous that needs a little TLC. I don't seem to have the best of luck thrifting for furniture, but every so often I spot something small that I know could be really pretty with a little elbow grease. A few weeks ago I spotted such an item.Behold my $5 thrift store vase - it's nothing much to look at is it?
Behold my $5 thrift store vase – it’s nothing much to look at is it?
Behold my $5 thrift store vase – it’s nothing much to look at is it?
I used some Silvo silver cleaner (purchased a while back when I had some crazy plan to actually clean my jewelry) to tidy it up, but I ran into a little problem. The directions on the can say to apply the cleaner, let it dry, and then rub it off with a soft cloth. This method worked a little (just enough to give me hope that my $5 was well spent), but it was quite frustrating as I had to use quite a bit of pressure to get any of the tarnish off, and then there was still plenty left on the vase after all the effort. Out of frustration I dabbed a little cleaner on the soft cloth and just started rubbing the vase - hallelujah! the tarnish came off easily. I'm going to have to remember not to follow directions more often.
 My New Silver Vase
 My New Silver Vase
I think it was worth a little elbow grease, and I think it looks great beside my bed.
Something Pretty to Open my Eyes to in the Morning
Something Pretty to Open my Eyes to in the Morning

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