February 3, 2014
I’m just gonna throw every word in the title since I didn’t know exactly what to call it when I first started out here. This is a bookend. I say “end” (singular) because my husband only came across one at an estate sale last weekend. But what the heck, it was only $5 and one bookend is better than no bookend at all.
I love it. I’ve seen these suckers displayed in many midcentury modern homes (some of yours included), and it’s one of those pieces that you can kind of just see why. Having scored one for my very own, I dug a little deeper to find out about its history and found some good information at a blogspot dedicated to the designer.
Though it’s often misattributed to George Nelson, the bookend jack was designed by Bill Curry and his wife Jacquelyn at Design Line in El Segundo. Even closer to (my) home, he was a graduate student of Art Center and “[i]n 1965 all Design Line products were selected for Excellence of Design by Pasadena Art Museum’s Design Nine Exhibition.” I adore this photo (and the killer room divider) of Bill and Jackie.
His jacks come in 9 and 3 pound brass designs and in 12 different colors. I’m partial to the brass, though a red one would be pretty sweet for kicks, too. The 1967-68 catalog below also shows a few other of his bookend designs.
After all my digging, I found out that Curry’s design is properly called a jack and not a jax. And I guess that’s about all for now on Bill Curry and his Jack bookend. Have a good week, everyone!
January 26, 2014
Is there a quintessential piece of furniture that you know once found it means you’ve “arrived”? For us it’s been a midcentury free-standing fireplace for quite awhile. Every time we come across one in an old magazine we patiently admire it. Whenever we come across one for sale, which is rare, it’s too damn expensive.
Until now, blog world! We got one! My hubs found one listed on Craigslist for under 2 bills and drove a good 80 miles (roundtrip) to bring her home.
Look at that Bronze Green! The best part about it is that the body is entirely ceramic. It’s an Aztec Free-Standing Fireplace made by Condon-King. Thanks to Mad for Midcentury, I found an ad introducing this “space-age” model in a 1967 Popular Science magazine:
Unfortunately our new score didn’t come with a screen and its former owner modified it to comply with a gas fixture, knocking a little hole on the bottom. We’re not big fans of tampering with vintage items like this, but hey, it’s still 100% awesome.
The flue had a little rust on it, so we sanded it down and painted it a black matte to match its original look. And then gave the inside a good cleaning to spiff it up a bit.
One day we’ll have a home where it will act as a functional piece, but for now it’s the perfect decor. Except I think we have way yonder too much green for our own good. It’s ridiculous.
So now we can move onto the next “we’ve finally arrived” must-have
January 11, 2014
At the start of 2013, my man picked up an old Huffy bike at a yard sale. It’s a 1950′s Customliner, rough around the edges and doesn’t have a kickstand. But, he loves it and frequently takes it out just to ride to the end of our culdesac and back.
I’ve been wanting a vintage bicycle for a very long time. Me, a vintage set of wheels and a basket = unstoppable. Before I married my husband, he surprised me with a beautiful 1960′s Schwinn. I love it, but it’s slightly too big for me and for several years now the tires have been out of commission.
Just before Christmas we headed out to some friends’ house and passed an awesome little junk shop with a 1959-ish Hollywood Schwinn parked outside. It was for sale. Incidentally, the shop happens to be owned by the same woman whom the Huffy was purchased from nearly a year ago! Well, needless to say it turned into my Christmas present – yay me!
I love the cobalt blue. And it has a basket! And there’s a name plate that I have every intention of keeping on. Three cheers for Lorynne!
It has some rust stains that need buffing out, but for now it rides like a charm and it’s perfect for these sunny “winter” days (sorry to all my mid-west neighbors who are experiencing radically cold temperatures right now).
Wishing everybody the best 2014 anyone can ask for. As for me, I am starting the year off unstoppable.
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.