Yesterday was really windy and it was hard to bike around. I first delivered some trash finds to some friends of mine – a cast iron pan and the lamp from two posts ago – and then set out on my way. As it turns out the journey didn’t last too long. I came across this pile of stuff in an alley in the Mile End.


I stopped because of the picture frames and stayed because of this piece of art. It’s a nice old piece (signed what looks like “St Andre”) – a Canadian winter landscape theme. The paint is cracked but still quite strong; the wind blew it off the ground into a tree without even a chip!

The painting is somewhat stained from cigarette smoke, but the discolouration is consistent so you probably wouldn’t notice (unless you smelled it)


However, the craziest find was in this bag I almost didn’t check. I kicked it and it had an odd feel to it – very heavy but with some give (and little sound). I opened it up and saw this pillowcase.


The pillowcase was full of jewelry! I was excited, clearly, because there’s always money in selling jewelry, and this stuff was definitely old.

I brought it home and looked through it for a few hours, realizing why someone might have thrown it away: it reeks of cigarette smoke. Touching it leaves tobacco tar all over your hands. Some of the pieces were also damaged.

In the end though there are definitely some really nice pieces I could sell on Etsy and the smell of cigarette smoke can more than likely be cleaned off. This stuff is reminiscent of the bag of jewelry that was taken by the police in that there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of precious metals (gold and silver). Most of it is vintage costume jewelry.

I have some work on my hands to sort through this stuff and see what is most saleable. If I try to clean it all myself (there are hundreds of individual pieces, including a small bag packed full of small catholic medallions) I’ll probably lose my mind, so I’m thinking I’ll just clean the ones I want and bring the rest to a yard sale my friend is planning on having sometime this month, where I can sell them for cheap with a “you buy it, you clean it” mantra.

I’ll post some pictures of some of the nicer stuff soon!

In other news, I tested that computer from the other day and it works great. I’m going to format it, install Linux/Ubuntu and look into selling it or giving it away. It runs XP, so while it’s not exactly new it’s still quite good for doing basic computing stuff.

13 thoughts on “Karma”

  1. Good find! Broken jewellery is really saleable, too. I have bought joblots of broken stuff on Ebay to use as parts for my own jewellery making. It’s almost better than the whole stuff to me! Good luck.

  2. Great find … and you didn’t have to bike all over Hell’s half-acre on a windy day to find it!

    Take a look through these suggestions on removing the tobacco smell from jewellery. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080813215536AAztGUA

    FYI – Your best tool for cleaning the dust and light grime off paintings is white bread. White bread won’t leave a residue, and it is surprisingly good at attracting dust without pulling up anything you want left on your painting. Just gently dab the bread on the surface to pick up dirt, dust, and grime.

  3. That type of vintage metal jewelry is exactly what I like to add to my handcrafted metal stamped pieces to make them unique. I also like the metal frame on the artwork you found.

  4. I was able to wash many years’ worth of tobacco/tar off painted walls using a Soilax/water solution, then a water rinse. That and air made the yucky build up and smell go away. Don’t know if that is safe for the kinds of finishes on jewelry.

    I’m agog at your fabulous finds and enjoyed reading through the archives.

  5. I love your finds and these finds of the paintings in a back alley in Mile End are not sadness-inducing but positive.But your find of the Royal Doulton Dishware in the huge pile on the sidewalk among the dead lady’s belongings aroused sadness,shock and disgust among me and my friends.I showed my friends that picture and we were left speechless.We have all seen good stuff thrown out on the sidewalk,but good China,family photos and jewelry are usually not junked.After seeing that picture,my friends who are in the twenties,thirties and forties,all four of them decided to write a will and wrote down what to do with their belongings in case of demise.All of them also named executors.I also want to make a will this month,though I’m only 32.That sight was very painful.Did anyone from different media outlets contact you for a story?Good luck to you.God bless.

  6. The last two days have been too windy.Now the weather will start warming up again from tomorrow on.Congratulations for biking east up to St.Michel Boulevard in Rosemont a few days ago.How about biking west to Cote Des Neiges boulevard?Cote Des Neiges is Montreal’s most multicultural neighborhood.You might find some gems in trash as we are in the first week of April and a few people did move on April 1.

  7. I say dump the whole lot in to a colander and was it out in the sink!! Then you can fine wash the good stuff and the other will be some what cleaned!

  8. Totally jealous! Have been scouting yard sales, curbsides, and thrift stores for old frames like that for a year now.

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