From Picker Dave

We’ve been running live auctions in our Roncy shop for a while now. Thursday the 21st will be our 40th one. We’ve found it’s a high energy method of getting new customers in our store; it also rotates our inventory and shakes up our floor plan. It’s not a huge money maker, we couldn’t feed the kids if we were just an auction house. Mostly its fun.

Taking what we’ve learned from live auctions we decided to try online auctions. After doing 4 of them it turns out they are just the same only different.

Our colleagues in the vintage business have taken notice; they gently make vague comments about offhandedly noticing something about “was that maybe you guys doing some online thingie”…What they want to ask is “DOES THIS PUT GOLD IN THE BOX?!!!!

I promised a few of them I would answer:

Trying to curate an auction is alchemy.

Mrs. H has given me very few rules, one that is firm is to “only buy things that you would have in your own home”. Sifting through the results of past auctions I found an antique duck decoy that sold for a lot of money. I knew of a supplier who had a nice selection and I bought a flock of 4 at $40.00 each.

They sat in the backseat as I drove them home. It takes an hour to go anywhere in downtown Toronto so the 5 of us had some time. Hand carved and lovingly painted by 4 different craftsmen, circa 1950’s, they we’re stunning.  I moved them upfront with me. By the time we got to the shop I knew they we’re special and decided to put them on the floor for $110.00 each, not to auction them off.

The floated around the shop for 6 weeks. Nothing. So I selected the best one and put it in an online auction. The duck was surrounded by 99 other lots, all good stuff, we were proud to brand it a “Mrs. Huizenga Auction”. I was excited to see how it would do when the auction closed on Thursday afternoon. I was going to make money selling something I really liked.

It sold for $11.31

Minus the 30% fee

I was sad. Sad that I lost us money but really sad that I lost my duck. I should have taken it home and kept it for the rest of my life. It was worth way more than 8 bucks to me...

The rest of the auction went well. We started another one immediately. It’s how we feed our kids.

All weekend long I lamented; I’ve never taken the time to learn how to lose gracefully. It was only one piece out of 400 but I didn’t care. My duck was gone.

On Monday morning I received an email titled “lot # 53. Duck Decoy”. Great, not only did I get gooned on the price but the buyer is unhappy about my duck.

I opened the email and it was a very polite, well written, gracious thank you note from the winner. He was so very happy to have the duck.

It was carved by his Grandfather.




how can i miss you if i don't go away ?

the pub we chose for a pint last night often features live music.

we were displaced from our table in order for friday night's duo to set up their gear and do the fussing those people do before getting down to it. this made us take extra notice of what would have generally escaped our attention.

one of the fellows was sporting a custom made harmonica belt, absolutely bubbling over with harmonicas. the belt itself had obviously been lovingly hand crafted. a long, long time ago. if i had to guess i would say at some point in the late seventies. brass pentagram buckle. studs baby, studs. and the most important detail ? made for a man both forty years and pounds younger.

i had a flash of musician friends of my own who had chucked it in for jobs selling bmw's, artists who now ponied up for the irregular cash of covering off a sick teacher, writers too buried in bureaucracy to pick up a pen come hell or high water. all their vitality and sparkly enthusiasm broken down by giving in. they took off their harmonica belts. to pay the rent. to nurse a parent. raise a child. meet the expectations of others.

these past few months our website has been down. both dave and i felt we weren't able to keep it fresh enough. i never quite learned how to post a photograph to this "user friendly easy to navigate" website, as sideways images from years past will attest. when we posted entries containing heartfelt words we felt vulnerable, afraid somebody might actually read the damn thing and find us to be all squishy and emotional. about a teacup. or a pyrex bowl. old photos of complete strangers we saved, and loved.

in these days crammed with the stimulus overload of time saving devices i was worried that we weren't being heard, or seen. as soon as we pulled the website it felt like a mistake. i assumed it was gone forever and we both mourned the moments in time we turned our backs on.

in its absence we learned we didn't care if anybody was reading it. we didn't care if we were judged to be a little bit whack. that the hand crafted harmonica belts our brains had our fingers type out pleased us, and that made us happy and that was good enough.

lets go with the assumption that much like our shop full of treasures, our blog only gets better with age.

if it sits quietly on an un-navigated shelf of the internet waiting to be dusted off and discovered so be it.

we only have pieces in our shop that we appreciate enough to have in our own homes should it come to be that nobody else sees the beauty of them. these words on these screens, the minutes spent shaping them, the struggles with technology to share beloved images bring us joy enough. we shall not surrender to, but embrace, the random nature of insert your favorite harmonica solo here. x0mrs



Always a store, with bonus auctions

Drop on by our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for photos of pretty things currently in the shop. We post often! Come by the store anytime, 11am–7pm.    xomrsh 

On the 3rd Thursday of every month, mrs. huizenga hosts an in-store live auction event, Hookerson-Blough. Preview starts at 6pm and bidding takes place from 7pm until around 9pm. Jonathan Hagey of Kingpin's Hideaway is our lovely auctioneer. It's a fun and lively family-friendly event! Our next #mrsHauction takes place Thursday, February 19th, at mrs. huizenga, 28 Ronvesvalles at Queen.

Here's some photos to gander from our January 2015 auction. All new items every month, you really never know what's in store! Insane bargains to be had.

The March 2015 auction takes place on Thursday, March 19. Same time, same place, all new finds.


Aside from our monthly auction events, mrs. h is always a store. Every day items come in, every day items go out, as stores do. That's why you need to wander in (the more frequently you can do so, the better.) Sometimes you'll never even see the funnest finds, as they're sold right off the back of the truck as it lurches around the city and outlying regions with all the things - hence the need to keep half an eye on the social media. Other items hide around the store, and hang around long enough to make friends, lingering a little in wonderful displays. They're waiting for someone to walk in and make them part of their own story.

There are many things of beauty, tucked in drawers and high on shelves and sitting in bowls or arranged in vases - sitting on other things of beauty. The aesthetic is whatever works; that style is a thing of substance. As proven by our friends at Covet Garden, and Worn, which we happily offer for sale. There are our kindred spirits, a source of justification and inspiration and some of our best customers, and there we see our friends and co-conspirators and occasional auction-goers.

Ah, the auctions. The Hookerson-Blough Auctions. There we move things along at a different pace. Sometimes they're store items that need to go out into the world in order to make room for the next nestful of fledglings. Sometimes they're things from friends, who have businesses in occasional need of another outlet. They're always interesting - that's the only criteria, and it's a good show, which is as fun for us as it is for you.


(art being in the eye of the beholder: Behold archictural salvage with vintage tin kitchenware and gorgeous hunks of bookends right there - and do we spy bark cloth in the background?)

...or the perfect tchotcke or trinket for a gift...

Or consider finding us at a flea, primarily the Junction Flea on Sterling Rd. where we bring the travelling show. That means what ever moves us, and captures the store in miniature in one bright and shining burst of energy.

And it all works, because of Mrs. H.

Cheers, and keep up with us however you will. It's appreciated, and what keeps us going. xomrsh