December 4, 2013
Over a year ago we pulled up to my sister’s in-law’s house and found a dilapidated cabinet they had left at the curb. To my left I heard, “Oh-what-do-we-have-here?!” and I knew it was going home with us even if it meant there was no room in the car for me (this thing is massive).
It had been in my brother-in-law’s family for decades, but no one remembered where it came from or what its original use was. It’s from City Built Refrigerator Company, but I couldn’t find a stitch of information on it. We both suspect it was used as some sort of pharmacy display case. We had something different in mind for it, but first to remove the layers!
My husband brushed coats of Klean Strip, a very effective paint stripper, and then scraped away the years of lead paint with putty knife. Now, my man is used to working with dangerous materials and equipment and always exercises the utmost precaution. Until the day he was about halfway through the project and got a little careless. While brushing on a layer of the toxic liquid, the brush bristles got caught in a wood groove and splashed him in his unprotected eye. I’ll spare you his stream of consciousness and cut to where he and his red, puffy eye were done for the day. Wear your protective gear, folks!
Mr. Detail, having recovered from his little setback, returned with scabbed eyelid to the refurbishing and gave the cabinet a good sanding and smoothed out some of termite damaged areas.
It has sliding glass doors and shelving, which needed replacing. He cut door tracks to fit, removed the rust from the hardware and then stained them a light green.
We opted for stain instead of paint because we liked the pattern in the plywood. Then we sanded the green stain to mute the intensity and replaced the sheet of glass shelving. As it turned out there was a lot more work to be done, but I won’t bore you with minutiae.
Fast forward to a year and a half later and we were finally ready to put her up! We found the studs in the wall and made sure this beast was secure with 3 sturdy L brackets and added a few screws behind the metal tracking and drilled those into the wall.
We dressed it with some of our midcentury glassware and crystal and filled the decanters with our favorite liquors: whiskey, tequila and vodka. Any recommendations for the fourth?
This poor project was a long time coming due to interruptions and setbacks, but I am so happy with the way it turned out and think it was well worth the wait! Cocktail anyone?
November 8, 2013
I did it folks! My second year participating in the* October Dress Project (ODP) was a success. I spent all of October in this number I scored for cheap off of eBay:
It was a little large in a few places so I had it hemmed and taken in at the underarms and straps. I preferred something brown for this year since 2012 was also a black dress, but nothing simple enough surfaced and this ended up being the better choice. Tailored, it was the perfect dress.
The jumper (with pockets!) gave me a lot more versatility than I had last year as I could wear tops under the dress as well as over, providing me with double the options. The dress was more recognizable as a jumper, but that was the way I preferred to wear it. I ended up with 31 different looks (no repeats!), but did miss photographing 5 days due to late work schedules (etc.), leaving me room for improvement in 2014!
I succeeded in in all of the ODP rules during the month: I didn’t buy anything wardrobe related, I incorporated the dress in my everyday attire and I (hopefully) did it creatively to prove how much I really do have in my closet.
A big thanks to those that encouraged me and made this project fun! And thanks to my hubby whom I made take a photo every day. As promised, here are the photos of all the different looks (including one with my friend, Hayley, who did ODP with me this year!):
I am looking forward to ODP 2014. Let me know if you want to join in!
* I am beyond excited to have been introduced to the woman who, with a friend , started the ODP back in 2008! Read about Tala’s experience here. I feel like I’ve met a celebrity! Thank you, Tala!!!
September 26, 2013
My husband went dumpster diving for a chair and came up with this Poul Volther original.
It was obvious why it had been discarded, but it really just needed a little TLC.
Due to the extent of the break, my man took it apart piece by piece and gave the broken chair leg a good glue and clamp.
The after result is pretty seamless!
The chair was considerably sun bleached and some of its finish was peeling off, so he sanded it and re-finished the teak with a gel stain.
The cord seat was in good, sturdy condition and just needed a good cleaning. After a few hours of time and a couple dollars of product, we found ourselves with a beautifully restored mid-century dining chair. A set of 4 would have been nice, but divers can’t be choosers.
September 7, 2013
Things have been busy around here and this summer is just flying by. We haven’t been able to keep up with our projects the way we’d like to, but curiously enough my husband still finds time to hit up his weekly estate sales. He’s scored more vintage Tootsie Toys, classic handyman books, and a couple of midcentury planters (I swear we need to have another yard sale). He also picked a few old seat cushions that were perfect for tossing on the floor or on an uncomfortable chair.
Except, the cushions weren’t cushioning anymore.
We sent hazmat in to rid these guys of their gnarly innards, gave the skins a good wash and went to work on restuffing them with firm foam.
This was a quick and easy project. And I’m happy for some awesome Hollywood Bowl cushions!
(Why, yes, that is a sharpie mark on the orange cushion ).
The hubs and I just celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary and I think it was just as hot and humid as the day we got married.
(dress is a Doris Fein Original, shirt is missing a label).
Hope you all are well!
August 12, 2013
As a kid 365 days felt like foreeevvverrrrrrrrr. Now, much “wiser”, I whiplash my head cartoon style and wonder where the time went. Welp, another October will be here before you know it and that means it’s time to find a dress for the October Dress Project (ODP)!
A quick cap or recap for those who are new or need a refresh. ODP encourages creativity with your closet while curbing consumerism (how’s that for alliteration?!). For 31 days in October the same dress is worn in rain or shine, at work and at play. The catchall is to change it up with any accessory or article of clothing you already have in your closet.
Last year I rocked a dress I found secondhand for a couple of bucks and now I’m on the hunt for this year’s number!
Many of you expressed an interest (either virtually or personally) in joining me this year. Well, this is your reminder that you only have a handful of days left to find your dress!
Here are a few tips while looking:
1. Look in your closet first. You might already have something that will work.
2. Keep it simple. Paisleys and florescent probably won’t look like a different dress by day 2. I recommend a solid black, blue or brown with simple lines and little fuss.
3. Find a dress you can layer with jeans, leggings, sweaters, blouses, etc.
1. Once October 1st hits, no wardrobe shopping is allowed of any kind.
2. You must wear the same dress everyday.
3. Accessorize and layer as much as possible to change up your attire. Be creative! Have fun!
Good luck to all of you who join! Like last year, I will post a selection of 2013 looks in November. It’ll be here before ya know it!
July 22, 2013
Sunday was supposed to be terrarium day. My husband and I went out and got all the materials we needed to build one in an old 5 gallon water jug. We made it through all the layering until the last layer – the plants – and realized what we had purchased was way too tall for their new home (we should have known better – I mean, look at these suckers!). Blast.
We recovered quickly and spent the afternoon planting the too-tall-plants in pots that needed to be filled anyway. We also had a couple of other plants that needed a new home, too, so we took care of those as well.
The green and yellow plant, Croton Pictum Batik, matched perfectly with a Frank Moreno pot picked up at an estate sale awhile back. And the Neanthe Bella Palm found its way in an Italian piece of pottery that ended up in our small kitchen (bellissima!).
These are our new favorites and so they were housed in a couple of our favorite ceramic beauts from the 1950′s. These were estate sale finds scored for $5 apiece.
This gorgeous California pottery works perfectly with their new roomers.
Our hope is that the, wait for it, Fiddleleaf Fig Ficus grows big and tall indoors. We have very little light inside, but the Fiddleleaf Fig Ficus seems to require little and it just might thrive if placed near a window. We found how to care for the Fiddleleaf Fig Ficus properly in a 1971 issue of Better Homes and Gardens HOUSE PLANTS. Hopefully climate change hasn’t altered the care tips too much…
While we didn’t get the anticipated terrarium job done (that’s for a another day and a different post), we did share some good laughs and got some great new plants added to our repertoire this afternoon.
Have a good week, everyone!
July 16, 2013
A couple of weeks ago my husband was in a wedding with a group of guys that have been best friends since childhood. Prior to the Big Day we were told by the beautiful bride-to-be that all of the groomsmen could wear their own suits as long as they were grey. Same for the shoes, in either brown or black. The wedding was a three day affair and about 2 hours away, so coming up with his own attire made our pocketbooks all the merrier. We got this!
About 3 weeks before the wedding, we hit up a rummage sale. We arrived towards the end of the sale and the place was pretty well picked over. But, then himself found the suits, pulled out two grey numbers within the wedding palette and tried the coat of the one we liked best. It fit perfectly and $5 later it was riding home with us in the car.
Then my groomsman estated himself a pair of never-been-worn 1960′s (ish) Jarman dress shoes in his size and in brown. Okay, they were a bit narrow, but aesthetics and cost first, people. Ten bucks.
All the gents looked great in their variations of grey and my man looked like he spent a pretty penny on his threads.
We had a blast of a weekend, escaped some of the heat at the beach and did it all on a dime…win-win. And I’m pretty sure I was the only one at the beach unsunning.
July 8, 2013
Not too long ago my other half sauntered through a local thrift store not expecting to find much. But he hit up the furniture section and that’s where he found it.
A room divider with shelves, drop leaf secretary…and cubbies! He popped open the cabinet and inside one of the drawers he saw the label. He paused for what seemed like a fractured hour-second, quietly closed the drawer, shut the cabinet, tore off the ticket and walked away as nonchalantly as possible (practically whistling dixie).
This piece of furniture dates back to 1953 given McCobb’s relationship with Sacks & Sons. If I had my druthers, it would look a little something more like one of these beauties (McCobb designs taken from Pinterest):
But at the very least there’s a lot of canvas to work with here. This sucker is tall, measuring just shy of 8′.
So we went to work dressing it and tried to keep it simple and minimalistic (for us at least!) to honor its design. I’m sure we’ll tweak endlessly until we feel we have it right.
Now in place this piece actually makes me pretty happy. Plus, it’s not every day you nab a Paul McCobb at the thrift store.
Happy hunting, all!
June 11, 2013
My husband remembers photographs of a rattan egg chair swinging from an olive tree at his grandma’s house during the 1960′s. The swing was no longer around by the time my husband was born and he has always thought how cool it would be to have one of our own.
We haven’t been able to scare up those photos, but he did manage to find himself at an “everything must go” estate sale with several vintage treasures for sale. One such treasure was a 1960′s swinging rattan egg chair. You can just guess what came home with him that day…
It’s definitely weathered and has seen brighter days, but it is sturdy yet and the nostalgic image of his grandma’s backyard encouraged my guy to give this chair a new life.It may not be swinging from grandma’s olive tree, but it looks great hanging on our porch! And it’s perfect for the impending Summer evenings.