Mission Thrift Store in Langley

The Mission Thrift Store in Langley is on Logan Avenue in Langley, right across the street from Value Village

There’s some great thrifting in Langley, BC. I’ve blogged in the past about Penny Pinchers and Second Story Treasures. My last post was about my great find at evil Value Village in Langley. And now, I’ve recently discovered another gem: the Mission Thrift Store.

This is a large, beautifully laid out and artfully decorated shop. They’ve got someone with some true creative muscles (and a Pinterest account, clearly) doing the displays for this shop. Check out some of these details:

The shop has a great selection of clothing, a decent sized book section, and a large furniture section. Things are reasonably priced, volunteers are friendly and helpful.

I picked up two little gems while here.

I love the detail on this top – it’s not too Christmassy to wear all season long

This Northern Reflections seasonal-themed top was just two bucks. I look for Northern Reflections branded clothes in thrift shops because their older clothing is actually good quality.

lovely detail

I’ve noticed that they’ve gone to inferior fabrics for a lot of their new clothing – especially t-shirts/tops. If I can hold it up to the light and see through it, I’m not interested (I’m just so over that, you know? )

Love the cover art on these old novels.

I also found a Trixie Beldon book that I don’t yet own. I used to collect these as a child and have several of them but they’re harder to find than Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys. Trixie ignited a deep desire within me to own a horse; a problem for my parents, given that we lived in an apartment in Vancouver at the time. She also began a passion for mystery novels that has never died. I got this one for $2.

The Mission Thrift Store supports BFM Canada (which I assume stands for Bibles for Missions but none of their materials OR their websites actually spells this out. These people need me.) The mission supports Bible-based literacy programs and supports the persecuted church world-wide. They are active in 40 countries around the world.

This shop is worth your next trip to Langley. Are you aware of other great thrifting in this area? Let me know – I’m always on the hunt for a new thrifting experience!


Posted in books, christmas, clothing, second hand, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops | Tagged , , , , , ,

Caught in a (Bare)Trap!

my faithful tall boots that really need replacing. they’re not leather, but they’re made in Canada, which is a bonus.

I’ve been looking for new-to-me winter boots for months now. I have a pair of well-loved boots that I got from my sister over 4 years ago. She got them at a thrift shop and had worn them for a while already, so who knows how old they really are.

I demand a lot from my boots. Because I walk home from work (about a half hour), I need my boots to be comfortable and to support my feet properly so I’m looking for boots with little or no heel and really good tread. I need them to be water-proof – I live on the We(s)t Coast, after all. And because I’m too lazy to pack extra shoes to wear at work, I need them to be fashionable too – something I can wear with a skirt or tights and not look like I’m about to climb a mountain.

I also need them to be inexpensive – not because I can’t afford $300 boots but because I just cannot imagine spending $300 on a pair of boots. In a way that’s a little weird because I know that you get what you pay for. I’ve learned, the hard way, that often inexpensive means cheap. And I’ve told myself that with something like boots, I would be making an investment. Just look at how long my sister and I have worn the boots that she found at a thrift shop. If I spent $300 on boots and wore them for 10 years, which I surely would, that would average out to $30 a year for boots. Not a lot of money when you think of it that way.


aren’t they pretty?

So a couple of weeks ago, my sister and I visited Evil Value Village in Langley. My faithful readers will know that I dis VV all the time but one thing that they have over most shops is sheer volume. Their stores are so huge that you’re almost always going to find what you’re looking for. But having visited the VV in Abbotsford numerous times over the last several months and not finding anything, I decided to try my luck at the Langley one. And wouldn’t you know it, I was successful!

Stay Dry System seems to be working so far and look at the great tread!

After trying on about a dozen boots, I found these Bare Trap leather short boots and I love them. They’re lined with faux fur, they have a great tread and they are one of the Bare Trap boots with their patented Stay Dry System (meaning they’re water proof). I like how they look with a skirt or tights and I’ve worn them with jeans or dress pants as well. They’re very warm and support my feet beautifully. They’ve even held up to the freezing rain and slush we’ve had for the last two days.

I looked up this style of boot on the Bare Trap website and they typically run $99 USD. I got these for $11.75 CDN. I know, right?

What have you been seeking for ages?



Posted in boots, second hand, thrift, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Giving with Intention

Tis the season to be giving and so we are treated to articles in our newspapers about gift ideas or cool things that people are doing to make other people’s lives better at this time of year. And then, I came across this: the Vancouver Sun recently had an article that suggested that storing up gifts all year to give away may be cheapening the entire concept of giving gifts.

Well, I’ve been called cheap before but always in the nicest way. This just made me shake my head.

The article quotes Professor Judy Zaichkowsky (from SFU, my own alma mater no less) and Thyra Uth Thomsen (from Denmark) whose research into gift giving implies that if you are stocking items with no one in particular in mind, then you are somehow demeaning the spirit of gift-giving because your potential gift is not intended for someone specific.

People who “receive gifts which they suspect are from storage may perceive a lack of caring and even feel insulted,” they wrote.

My question is: why would they suspect that your gift is coming from a storage closet filled with gifts? What the research assumes is that I am not only purchasing thoughtlessly but I am giving thoughtlessly as well.

the classic screwdriver

So if I find a Philips Screwdriver on sale somewhere and think “this would make a great gift for a handy-man or someone who is moving into their first home” but do not have a specific person in mind, I’m somehow screwing the spirit of gift-giving. (see what I did there?)

That would be true if I gave that screwdriver to my mom for her 80th birthday. If I did that, she might correctly suspect that I gave absolutely no forethought to her birthday gift but just reached into the abyss of my Gift Stockpile Closet and grabbed the first thing I saw, wrapped it and gave it to her.

But if I give that screwdriver to, say, my son when he moves out on his own for the last time (see what I also did there?) as part of a starter toolbox – that would be a damn good gift. Buying it on sale, just means I saved money AND time.


Maybe I need to do my PhD on living a thrifted lifestyle. Or on the absence of common sense in the world. Or people who have too much time on their hands and manage to get paid to write nonsense (even if they do go to my alma mater and even if their writing partner lives in a happy place like Denmark.)

So how about you? Do you have a stash of gifts that you’ve purchased throughout the year just in case you need to give something to someone? Have you ever felt bad or insulted by a gift?

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All Dressed Up and Places to Go!

Guess whose hat?

I’ve had two excuses to get into costume in the last month and neither of those were Halloween. I have mixed feelings about costume parties. On one hand, I love them because it’s fun to get dressed up as something weird and it’s fun to see how a theme brings out the creativity in others. On the other hand, I hate the idea of spending money on something I’ll never wear again – it’s that frugal gene in me, I guess. So naturally, I turned to my favourite thrift shops in order to get what I was looking for.

Mary and Bert – and a spoonful of sugar!

The first costume need was for a Fairy Tale themed costume party hosted by our friends who do a themed costume party every year. We stretched the traditional idea of fairy tale a bit and went as Mary Poppins and Bert, the Chimney Sweep.

Here’s what it cost:

My skirt and blouse – $4 from Life’s Second Chance Thrift Shop in Abbotsford

My bowler hat – $7 from Evil Value Village (at Halloween)

Belt – $1.50 from Bibles for Missions in Abbotsford

Umbrella, carpet bag, spoon-full-of-sugar – owned or borrowed

John’s vest – $4 from Bibles for Missions in Abbotsford

Pipe cleaner for the Chimney sweeper – $2 from Michael’s ( i think…)

Hat, pants, shirt, shoes, mop handle – owned or borrowed

Pretty good right? We were pretty pleased with ourselves and I may even wear the skirt again – it’s 100% wool and fully lined.

the top hat is the best part

The second costume need was for my church’s Christmas banquet. I was part of a 4-piece band called Bob Cratchit and the Bookkeepers (I know, right?) and we styled our costumes after the Muppet Christmas Carol characters.

My shirt – $4 from Evil Value Village

My vest – $5 from SOS Thrift Shop in Steveston

My pants – $4 from Life’s Second Chance in Abbotsford

My hat – $10 from Evil Value Village (also at Halloween)

Jacket, pocket watch, ascot – owned or borrowed

Three of the four band members. All the top hats form Evil Value Village, most of the clothing rented, thrifted or borrowed.

Isn’t it fun? I also got top hats for all the gents in the band and glued holly to them. They all wore their own clothes or borrowed items, except for the tall bass player whose mom rented tails for him! I won’t wear the shirt again (it’s a man’s shirt and way too big for me), I already wear the pants to work all the time, they’re so comfortable. The vest is actually kinda fun and honestly, if the right opportunity arises, I’d wear that top hat again in a heartbeat, I love it so much.

not a great pic of me but it shows you the full effect, with the jacket.

Tell me how you feel about costume parties – yes or no?

Posted in costumes, second hand, thrift, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Roots for the Win

Son says to me: Ma, next time you’re in a thrift shop, see if you can find me a new messenger bag, mine is starting to fall apart inside.

Mission accepted. Same week, I head to the MCC Plaza in Clearbrook and find this beauty.

The hand-grip handle had come off and the interior lining had a rip in it. I used a safety pin to pin the handle back on from the inside and then reinforced that with hand-stitching, then hand-stitched the hole in the lining. Good as new.

New Roots canvas messenger bags run about $50, this cost me all of $3.50. Son was pleased – that’s a double win.

Posted in handbags, second hand, thrift, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Only Fair

Stone at the gate of a Palestinian farm in Palestine that is a meeting place of people from different cultures and religions. MCC photo: Megan Mast

My blogs lean heavily on the thrift theme but I am a Thrift Shopper for Peace and this blog focuses more on this side of my mandate. (You can learn more about that on my About page).

I am a big fan of fair trade products. I try to buy fair trade coffee, spices, chocolate, sugar. I have some clothing that is made by women who recycle saris and other clothing and sell their products in order to earn a living wage. I understand that I pay more for these products so that an artisan or a farmer in another country can live sustainably.

Zatoun Extra Virgin Olive Oil – such a great product!

But lately, I’ve noticed a rise in prices of some of the things that I have always bought at fair trade stores. One example is the Zatoun olive oil that I buy at Ten Thousand Villages. This is an excellent product. I use it in everything except baking (because I don’t like the taste of olives in baking). I used to pay $20 a bottle for this and while I know that’s more than what I’d pay for olive oil elsewhere, I pay it because I know that it supports farmers in Palestine who are living in very challenging circumstances, supporting peace projects, education and peace dialogue between Palestinians and Jews.

When I purchase at Ten Thousand Villages, my money specifically supports their Trees for Life program, which helps farmers (including new and women farmers) by providing them with olive tree saplings to replace those destroyed by the ongoing conflict there.

But the last time I went to buy my Zatoun, I saw that the price had jumped to $25 a bottle. That’s a 25% increase in price! And suddenly I’m thinking to myself  wait a minute, I support fair trade but doesn’t it also have to be fair to me?

I emailed my local Ten Thousand Villages about the price hike and the manager there responded right away. This is the response she received from her head office:

Throughout our 10 year strong partnership with Zatoun, we’ve had no price increases, however, they can no longer absorb their cost increases.  We remain committed to our partnership with Zatoun, and to continuing our donation to the Trees for Life program.  Ten Thousand Villages Canada is responsible for roughly 30% of the annual donations to this vital program.

MCC Photo: Megan Mast

This past spring, several friends from my church traveled to Palestine with Mennonite Central Committee and met with olive farmers who have been farming groves that have been in their families for centuries – literally. They continue to try and sustain their groves despite the random annexation of land, destruction of trees and hardships created by the building of the wall. I heard these stories the same week that I was wrestling with the increased cost in my olive oil. It’s one thing to read about good work on a website but when trusted friends visit a place and meet with farmers first hand, listen to their stories and see with their own eyes the challenges they live with… well, it really brought it home to me.

So, I will pay the increased price. I will do it with joy. Why? Because at the end of the day, I can. I am blessed with work that I love that pays me a very good wage, blessed to live in a country that has the longest undefended border in the world (and regardless of how I feel about their current government, that is still a truly remarkable thing), and blessed to be in a position where shopping fair trade is a choice I can make. I know that this is not true for others but while I am able to make this choice, I will. Because it’s only fair.

What is your favourite fair trade product?

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That’s a Wrap

I had the privilege of attending a wedding this summer. Mark and Rachel were married at the always-lovely Tanglebank Gardens in Abbotsford. It was a perfect day – blue skies after a week or more of smoke/haze and a cool evening to enjoy dinner and dancing.

Mr. and Mrs. Rempel, photo credit: Christina Kliewer Photography

I always like to find something unique for wedding gifts – but not so unique that the couple will think I’m crazy (admittedly, that can be a little tricky at times.) I purchased a gorgeous handcrafted serving board, painted by local artist Linda Klippenstein, and tried to match the colours to what the couple had chosen in their gift registry. I was pretty pleased with the purchase.

i loved these so much i bought one for myself too. this isn’t the exact board (neither mine nor Rachel and Mark’s) but very like it. gorgeous, right?

The only trick was that it’s an awkwardly shaped gift that didn’t come with a box, so wrapping was going to be a challenge. I solved the problem by deconstructing and reconstructing a produce box to fit the shape of the board. This protected the art piece and also gave me something to wrap.

Those of you who have followed my blog know that I also like to wrap my gifts uniquely, often opting for colour comics or old calendars instead of retail gift wrap. But I happened to be at a thrift shop and found this pretty wedding wrapping paper and matching ribbon, so went for that instead.

It cost me all of $3. But I didn’t have a bow to finish it off, so I poured a glass of grapefruit radler and got crafty, fashioning my own bow out of the thrifted ribbon and a button from my button box that matched it perfectly.

Not sure if it was the radler or what but I was pretty impressed with my finished product. Hopefully the bride was too (and the groom, I guess, but not sure if many grooms pay attention to things like the quality of gift wrap and bows. Mark may prove me wrong.)

What’s your favourite, creative way to wrap gifts?





Posted in art, thrift, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments