Sunday, 1 May 2016

Gathering for a Medieval Feast

A mixture of thrifted and NON-THRIFTED. I'll specify what I didn't buy second-hand below.

Well, we still haven't managed to get around to it yet (I'm the hold up, sadly - been much too busy!), but the big Medieval-style feast we're planning with friends is, in theory, coming up soon!

I thought I would share what I've gathered for the feast so far, by way of inspiration if you're planning your own event. I didn't photograph most of the textiles this time around, and I forgot a thrifted olive wood cutting board that I use daily, but here's most of what's going on the table itself:
Turned, solid wood bowls. They run approximately 0.50 - 1 Fr. at Brockiland (found many of them downtown), and a Fr. each at Brocki-Welt in Schlieren. I'm sure I picked the odd one up elsewhere, too. They're actually easy to find, and cost an INSANELY little amount compared to what you would pay for these new at a Weihnachtsmarkt or medieval faire. Don't forget to wash and dry thoroughly, and then treat with oil (i.e. canola) on a regular basis. They will crack if you don't oil them. :( It happened to an acquaintance of ours. Don't forget that these may be considered "decorative" items and may be stocked away from the kitchenware at your local brocki. Sometimes they're stored with the wicker baskets (which are also good medieval-esque props!).
The same care instructions apply to wooden platters and serving bowls, as well as ladles/cups. Again, make sure you oil them well and regularly, and search for them outside of the kitchenware area of your brocki, too. Each brocki sorts their stock differently!
Finding an appropriately coloured and shaped earthenware pitcher took a lot longer than I expected. I'm not even sure this is safe to drink from. I'm going to put water in it and fully expect that we'll be drinking beer and mead anyway. Still, the green glaze is medieval-appropriate, though I think the pattern on this would be considered ugly in any age... :S

The faux iron (probably aluminium - I care not!) chandelier was my favourite find. The other little wrought iron tealight holder, the silvery candle holder at bottom, and the red glass I bought along with the chandelier all on one trip to Remar brocki in Altstetten. The wrought iron candlestick holder that the beeswax candle (self-made! Check out the Kerzenziehen days at your local Gemeinde/primary school in Nov/Dec!) stands in was from Brocki-Welt in Schlieren. I can't remember exactly where the lantern came from, but I had bought it for a Hallowe'en decoration originally (best guess is the downtown Brockiland, which has loads of people's self-made woodworking projects just waiting to be repurposed!).
Stuff I DIDN'T thrift: all the drinking horns came from either MPS or other Ritter Tourniers in Switzerland. The besteck (cutlery) I bought from , and the horn shot-glass set was found at the Kaltenberger Rittertournier near Augsburg and Munich (my partner simply had to have them. I think we only used them once!). The earthenware bottle was previously holding Krumme schnapps, and I steamed off the label. I might try to remove the metal lid mechanism and serve drinks from it. Now to find a medieval-looking funnel...!
The fox pelt (I would so rather have had that fox still alive...argh), the bag (previously a tea towel or something?), and the tablecloth below that we use as a picnic blanket are all thrifted, from Brockiland, Heils-Armee, and... I think Brockiland again, but don't quite recall. I didn't include the masses and masses of decorative silky-satin and velvet and woven gold and plain linen and linen-like fabrics I've accumulated, mostly because I've stitched some of them into garments, but also because they're in the bedroom and my partner is still asleep. ;) But there's reams of the stuff just waiting to be rescued at virtually every brocki, Brockiland and Heils-Armee being my best bets overall. HIOB's not too shabby, either!

Hope it inspires you to do the same yourself! It's amazing what you can find! I've been amassing stuff for about a year now, to give you a sense of time. But if you were motivated and went every weekend to a different brocki (as many as possible), then repeated the cycle, I bet you could be fully stocked in a month or two.

Oh, one other note: THINGS I MADE! Things you can make, too!
  • The beeswax candle during the Christmas holiday run-up at your Gemeinde (or Kreis, if you live in the city) primary school events ("Kerzenziehen"). That was, in retrospect, cheap, and rather fun to make. The beeswax is always very popular with the old people, while all the ankle-biters are making mud-brown paraffin candles by mixing all the colours at once (of course)! Word to the wise: go on the first day, at opening, if you want to make a coloured modern candle. By the end of the first day, all the colours are polluted! :S
  • The willow basket. There's a great website that I cannot get enough of called "Jon's Bushcraft". You should definitely check it out! Next thing I'm going attempt is the nettle cordage (already ate all the leaves off the stalks in a delicious nettle soup - I recommend trying your hand at that! I just used them as I would spinach, but he's got a "bush-recipe" if you want to follow that. Or just Google for a better recipe..!). ;)

The basket's frankly hideous and it lists to one side. But I'm hoping no one will notice once I stuff it full of bread loaves or apples! 

I'm really looking forward to this great feast! I'm thinking whole roasted poultry (probably just chicken, but whatever I can get at this time of year!), a roast beef or lamb or something, roasted carrots and onions (but not potatoes - they hadn't made it across the Atlantic yet!), bacon-wrapped asparagus (mmm!), apple and red cabbage stew (I make this on a regular basis anyway), and some homemade sourdough rustic bread. Maybe some baked apples and mince pies for dessert, only sans-minced meat, which is what they used to have in them. That's a yucky thought for dessert!

:) TiZ

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Find It, Second-hand Boutique, Schlieren

NOT a Brocki!

Alright, I made that clear! Here are the reasons why it isn't a brocki:
  1. It smells nice
  2. It looks nice
  3. Proper price-tags abound
  4. There are changing rooms
  5. There's new stuff, too
Definitely a "boutique", and it's the least 'second-hand feeling' of all the second-hand boutiques I've been to (okay, there's one at home in Canada that is just like this, but that doesn't count!).

Oops, blurry! They take credit and bank card, too. :) Nice. I still paid in cash (OMG, has Switzerland changed me?! What happened?!)
I was surprised to see the second room! And crap - I totally forgot to look at the jewelry on that wall! :S
A view from inside the changeroom. I like the silk ceiling and the full-length mirrors, and the little stool. Very thoughtful - the owner clearly knows what makes a pleasant shopping experience and provided all the necessary equipment! :) There were three such changerooms, too!

Find It was staffed by a very friendly, tiny woman who left me to my own devices, then came back right in time for me to pay and have a friendly chat. I like that - points for this service! 

Our little chat was her apologising for having to step out momentarily, but that she finds it better to shop for clothes when you're not being 'helped' by a stranger who knows nothing of your tastes or needs. I couldn't concur more. :) She's not the owner, and so I'm not sure how the service may vary. But on a Saturday around 1 o'clock, the service was everything I hoped for (and more, frankly!). :) I could even take photos without having to scrap together a pigeon-German speech!

I bought a pair of Levi's for 19.- that are apparently used but don't look like they've ever been worn. :) Score! 

Here's the dirt on Find It:

  • CLEAN! Holy crap, is it clean! :D
  • It smells good! How is that possible?! Seriously - doesn't feel like second-hand shopping at all!
  • Has nice changerooms
  • I really liked the staff member who was on today
  • Shoes and purses were very tempting - and CLEAN! So clean! Swiss clean! :D
  • Some cute purses, actually - just wasn't in the mood for shopping for them. There was a cute one with teal fringe that would be on-trend for the summer, and a beige one that was leaning towards 'too practical' but was rather nice all the same
  • Prices VERY reasonable for jeans, anyway!

  • I feel the target age is a 45-50 year old Swiss woman. That's not a problem, except that's not me. A few too many blazers for my liking, and the shoes (while nice) were really somehow not to my taste. But they were nice - you should go and make sure it's not to your taste, in which case you're in for a treat!
  • Prices were reasonable, reasonable-to-high for some of the purses and shoes. Again, I didn't really want any. Maybe the prices are fine, but I wasn't tempted enough to see them that way
  • Really, really out of the way spot (although SUPER EASY to find if you're looking for it). It's not a beckoning alley, and I probably would've passed by if I didn't have a blog to maintain (for real)

  • It's right next to the Brunngasse bus stop, just past the Apotheke, which is past Rolli's. They put a sign out - look for it! (Also - Rolli's has great onion rings. :) And a weird "Swiss-trying-so-hard-to-be-American" interior that needs to be seen if you're from North America. Packed with authentic things, but somehow it feels foreign (explain it to me if you figure it out!). Maybe it's just the Aromat shakers on the table...) :)
  • Bring your friend with the "Eeew, icky! Used?" reaction here to convince her to look differently at second-hand shopping. ;)
Brunngasse bus stop is right there!

Find It is the Schlieren equivalent of the Birmensdorferstrasse CARITAS Kleider shops, but for a slightly older and less cool group. All in all, not my favourite shop. Not hugely likely to return, because I feel it targets an age group 10 to 20 years my senior. The stuff is nice, but somehow not what I want or need (apart from the Levi's, which are gone). Okay yeah, I might come back here for jeans (or I'll just buy MonkeeGenes and not worry about sweatshops that way. Hmmm). ;)

BUT, if I go to Brocki-Welt again, I will certainly stick my nose into Find It, just in case I do 'find it'. ;)

'Til next time, my thrifty pals!

Brocki-Welt, Schlieren (the old Brocki Altstetten?)

Yesterday afternoon, I wrote the obituary for Limmattal Brocki, and in the process stumbled upon Brocki-Welt in Schlieren, a previously unknown brocki to me.

The brunette with the glasses is the lady in charge

The next morning, I was there, loading up! How's that for up-to-date blogging, eh? I should get paid for this. ;)

Note the store hours: I had read that it opened at 10am on Saturdays, and had planned to go at opening. But I was waylaid, and must have arrived right at opening! SAT: 11:00-16:00, and 10:00-18:30 M-F.

I took the most direct looking route on Google Maps to Sägestrasse 9, and it turned out that there was a much easier and obvious way (I'll show it). If you take the second way, it's really just a couple of minutes (or less) from the Brunngasse bus stop (#308) and there isn't a hill as there is up Uitikonerstrasse.

Best way to get there - from the bus stop at Brunngasse, walk uphill to Die Post and Qualipet, bear right and pass in front of Qualipet, turn left at the fountain onto Sägestrasse. The yellow and red Brocki-Welt is at the next fountain, on the left-hand side:

(The less good way to get there: from Uitikonstrasse, and there's no obvious street sign for Sägestrasse from this approach. Turn right before the Fire Station):

I did not receive a warm welcome. The lady who runs the joint has a voice that sounds like it might have been put through a cheese grater prior to smoking a pack a day, and you won't get a "Grüezi" out of her or any of her smoking companions sitting at the front (or in the back room) of the shop.

The clothing was nothing to write home about. Go to "Find It" instead (see upcoming post). ;)
I didn't feel like shopping for another platter today, but I know where I'll go when I need one! :)

Nevertheless, she actually is rather pleasant, once you get her talking. Just don't be taken aback by the cool reception at the outset. Just keep on shopping! :)

I discovered a clue as to the origins of Brocki-Welt:
Note the Brocki Altstetten business cards at the right of the photo. I saw a bottle of champagne (and I remember it because it was so unexpected), so I guess they do sell alcohol and that this sign does serve a purpose. Never occurred to me to shop for that at a Brocki!

I think this might just be the old Brocki-Altstetten that I see on GoogleMaps. I was going to ask, but... even after she warms up to you, there's a conversation and half a dozen cigarettes burning the the back room that need attending to. She's very genial, in her own way, but you do kind of feel like you're constantly interrupting. I don't think she minds, if you're paying. ;)

The plus side of all of this is that you can shop at leisure for hours, if you want (it turned out to be the case for me - lots to see!), and you won't be hounded. The downside is that you usually have to find her to pay, and pull her away from her buddies, who look at you like you're the biggest buzzkill on the planet. It's kind of a funny experience!

Here's the dirt:

  • Lots of stock, and two floors plus outside to peruse
  • Prices negotiable - seemingly a discount when you buy a pile of stuff, too
  • Not very busy, and lends to relaxing browsing
  • Has friendly store cat (demands a pat)
  • Good location, once you know where it is
  • Has shopping baskets (behind front door - I didn't see them until I left!)
  • Owner very trusting - just hands you the keys to the display case (the converse of this could be: owner quite lazy and disinterested, but I see it as a plus!)
  • Fairly open and did not lend itself to feelings of claustrophobia (it should be noted that I'm not a sufferer, however!). But it was a little less cramped than many other brocki's.

  • Unfriendly welcomes seem the norm
  • Quite dirty and dusty; bins of textiles difficult to peruse
  • Lighting a little poor and sparse in places, but not hugely detrimental
  • Prices just okay - negotiable, which is good, but still higher than Brockiland (which is the case everywhere that isn't Brockiland, to be fair!). ;)

  • Check along the outside wall of the brocki before heading inside, and all of the outdoor racks as well
  • Belts in the bins are not so picked through as they are at Brockiland - there are lots of real leather and suede belts to be found
  • Great selection of plates and porcelain in general. If you're in the market for plates, make sure you come here!
  • Maybe there's a smoker's discount if you share a ciggy with the group? :) I think Schwiizer-Düütsch is a prerequisite skill, though.

Honestly, it's a pretty good brocki overall, and I think it's definitely worth a trip if you're heading through or to Schlieren. :) It's quite BIG considering it's not downtown, too. My verdict: generally recommended.
Still amassing goods for that upcoming Medieval-style feast with friends, as you can see! 40.- was the final bill.

I have some very sad news, though, about my calf-skin leather gloves, a steal at 3.-:

The puppy decided to taste them while I typed. :( I think they might be beyond repair. I very nearly cried.

Ah well. Join me for my new blog, "Adventures in Extreme Leather Repair". (Kidding).

Coming up next: "Find It Second-Hand Boutique, Schlieren"