The Elusive Dorothy Thorpe

A revisit on the hunt for “Mad Men” Barware

midcenturyobsession

Let’s talk about mid-century name brands. Branding is important; Don Draper would be the first to tell you. So how do you determine if something is the real deal, or a reproduction? Does it matter? You can find many a heated discussion on the subject on mid-century modern blogs and Facebook Fan pages. I’m here to tell you, when it comes to Dorothy Thorpe, it’s really hard to know. You’ve seen Dorothy’s work…real or reproduction on Mad Men, and you’re probably starting to see it in your friends homes.

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According to the only seemingly reliable information I could track down, Dorothy Thorpe sold her interest in her company in 1953. At the time, she was well-known for her floral work and sand etching.

Here’s an excerpt:

Thorpe passed away September 4, 1989 in Carlsbad, California. Based on this revised information, it seems that Dorothy Thorpe only ever did floral and…

View original post 329 more words

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Mid-Century Modern-Inspired Baby Shower

Well, we’ve done it. Our MCM baby shower has come and gone. I have my mother and sisters-in-law to thank for all of their incredible efforts. You always worry about things coming together, people having a good time, and they really made all that happen beautifully. It was a fun time had by all and the shower was gorgeous. I’ll dive straight in, and share a few of the sources that were used.

It started with this mid-century modern-inspired invitation by EmilyAnnDesigns:

Etsy Emily Ann Designs

I mean….I’m not Katie Matthews….but that IS my nursery. Down to the gray crib and Nelson saucer light. Heaven.

We got to put my newly-refinished bar cart and Dorothy Thorpe collection to good use before it all sold! (Silver rimmed punch bowl and cups still available here)

Sexy Bar Cart Alert!!!!
Sexy Bar Cart Alert!!!!

The menu consisted of punch, finger sandwiches and veggie cups. And of course, a summery mango cake (that was OMG good).

Finger Sandwiches. And Veggie Cups. Very Retro!
Finger Sandwiches. And Veggie Cups. Very Retro!

 

The shower invitation served as decoration inspiration for the cake! Almost too cute to eat. Almost.

My invite was inspiration for the cake! Almost too cute to eat. Almost.

For those of you interested, Callum (pronounced cal-um) will be the baby’s name. It’s Scottish, as are my family’s origins. The Irish husband got the Irish name for the first child, and I claimed the second. The name is Scottish for “dove” and very seldom used in the U.S.- which is the point. So don’t go copying me, or I’ll have to kill you.

Ahem. Back to our shower!

There were games of course, including pinning a cloth diaper on as many balloons as you could while timed, a game where you had to wear a pink foam roller in your hair every time you were caught crossing your legs or arms, and a baby food naming contest. We also had a little Mad Men-type advertising game where you had to guess advertising slogans – and fill in which company ran the ad.

That's my cutey patootie mom in the background, and my little sis-in-law pinning a diaper on a balloon.
That’s my cutey patootie mom in the background, and my little sis-in-law expertly pinning a diaper on a balloon.

 

My aunt and I comparing tummies
My aunt and I comparing tummies

Guests could make wishes and leave sweet notes for baby on this “wishing tree.”

Wishing cards with adorable quotes printed at the bottom were also found on Etsy.com

at FreeSpiritCrafting

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Another really great idea were the retro-ey aprons and “photo booth” area complete with a Polaroid camera, and scrapbooking accessories. Guests were asked to dress up with the props of their choice, snap a photo, then decorate a page that would later go in a scrapbook for me and baby. A sweet and fantastically thoughtful idea!

Aprons for "photo booth"
Aprons for “photo booth”
My son and I posing at the end of the shower for a "photo booth" shot.
My son and I posing at the end of the shower for a “photo booth” shot.

Shower Photo Booth 7.19.14

Guests got to go home with little sticky note favors and handsome bow tie cookies.

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Thanks to awesome Etsy shop owners, the creative minds on Pinterest, and most of all –  these three awesome ladies…

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Baby and I are so blessed.

 

 

 

Inspiration

I’ve been so focused on my Etsy shop that I haven’t spent much time working on baby’s nursery. Mostly out of guilt, I’d like to share my room inspiration found on Pinterest. This weekend, our family descended upon the Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium Flea Market to find a credenza for baby’s room and I’m so excited about what we found. First, let’s start with the idea board:

Here's the idea board found on Pinterest.  Credit to WeeHeart
Here’s the idea board found on Pinterest. Credit: WeeHeart

I can assure you my kid will not be a “mini hipster” as the caption suggests…but he will be surrounded by bright pops of color, and mid-century modern décor.

We don’t need a geometric rug as baby’s room is carpeted – so I went to Joann’s Fabrics and scored this fabric at 50% off:

Boxed in Peacock Panel Fabric

My incredible aunt will be making window panels for me out of this “HGTV Boxed in Peacock” fabric. Hooray!

Being thrifty and keeping in mind we’re on a tiiiiiiiiiight budget for baby’s room, I happily repurposed my first son’s original Ikea crib. In past years, it had been loaned out to family, and painted a different color. Off to Home Depot I went for gray spray paint.

Here's the before photo. You know the saying: Yellow is mello, but Brown goes down. LOL.
Here’s the before photo. You know the saying: Yellow is mellow, Brown goes down. LOL. (Brownie points for the first reader to name that t.v. reference!)
See the original blue? That probably wouldn't have worked either.
See the original blue? That probably wouldn’t have worked either.

 

Gettin' it done.
Gettin’ it done.

DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend any of you preggos follow my lead and sand and spray paint anything. I was very careful, used a mask, walked away from the project quite often and took my time getting it done. If you have willing family members-ask for help.

Paint was purchased at Home Depot for $3.87 a can – I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Paint + Primer in Satin/Granite. The masks and sandpaper I had already in my arsenal.

All in all, including spray paint and Matte Clear Coat, this project cost $23, saving us the cost of another crib (which would be over $100 – even if we went super cheap and went back to Ikea).

"Granite" in all it's gray glory.
“Granite” in all its gray glory.

I’m thinking about using some sort of stencil & white paint on either side of the crib for poops and giggles. Haven’t decided on the stencil design itself…so readers, if you’re so inclined, suggestions are welcome.

Here’s my inspiration for the credenza….which will double as a changing table and kick ass storage for YEARS to come.

Credenza as a changing table

And here’s what we found this weekend at the Long Beach Flea!!!!!

Baby's Credenza...just waiting for some Howard's Beeswax!
Baby’s Credenza…just waiting for some Howard’s Beeswax

The top is laminate, which is fantastic. It will either be lacquered white (just the top!!!!) or left as is. I’m super scared to alter it in any way, but the jury is still out on the matter.

Me. Excited. At a Flea.
Me. Excited. At a Flea.

And today? Today was the day that the GORGEOUS “tangerine” fabric from PopDecorFabrics arrived.  It’s soft but durable…it’s orange….it’s perfect. Check out their store on Etsy for more colors!

PopDecorFabrics, you rock me!
PopDecorFabrics, you rock me!

The fabric above will soon be covering the vintage rocker below found on Craigslist.

Nursery Rocker

So there you have it! I guess I haven’t been as distracted as I’d originally thought. The room hasn’t been altered or painted yet, but we’ll get there. One day at a time!

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed

Do you ever just get so excited about something that you want to shout it from the rooftops? Well, I’m that kind of excited about following my passion in life. This blog is dedicated to treasure hunting, D-I-Y’ing and breathing new life into otherwise unloved or forgotten pieces from the mid-century era. Through this blog, I’ve been able to share my adventures and lessons learned while I made over my home in typical 1950’s 1960’s mid-century modern decor. When the mid-century obsession stuck, I decided to open up an online store. I’ve had an Etsy shop open for about a year and a half now and I’m still loving what I get to do as a shop owner. I love the thrill of the hunt, finding things I think other people will love and then getting to share them with the world. BUT, until recently, I hadn’t taken the leap of faith to do it full-time. In March, I decided I would focus my energy on making the Etsy shop a priority in a way that would begin to help supplementing my family’s income. I’m still a long way off from making a difference financially, but I know I’ll get there.

I feel fortunate to have a supportive husband who wants me to seek out my dream and has advice for me when I ask. I love that my son doesn’t mind going “treasure hunting” with me, as long as there’s an occasional Starbucks cake pop in it for him. I love the solitude of long drives away from my hometown’s over-priced “thrift” stores and cackling aloud to myself in the car when I’ve found something that makes my heart race.

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Most of all, I’ve enjoyed meeting like-minded people who are as equally crazy as I am, and who have supported my little venture. I had been so hesitant to get into social media for the shop…but knew it was sort of a necessary evil to get the word out there. There are so many things I dislike about sites such as Facebook. I was afraid I’d be bothering people, or that people might be rude, or unsupportive. It’s much easier to be that way behind a computer profile…

So I polled some Facebook friends in a mid-century related group that I belong to and the response was overwhelming. “Do it!” “GO FOR IT!” “Social media is a necessity these days to reach those you wouldn’t normally reach!” And then I remembered that this is a business. You can’t please everybody (as I so often aim to do) and the people who want to “like” your store will….the people who don’t, won’t.

I guess that’s the lesson I’ve learned this week. If you really love something, you gotta go for it…and not let your own fears or preconceived notions get in the way.

Anyway…so this is the unveiling. The Facebook Fan Page for Mid Century Obsession https://www.facebook.com/midcenturyobsession?fref=nf

Facebook Like Icon
https://www.facebook.com/midcenturyobsession

If you love MCM…or if you know someone who does, please share this with others. Go to FB and “Like” the store. That way, you’ll get updates on new additions/treasures/furniture and décor in your newsfeed. (Max one post a day- scouts honor!)

Thanks for your support!~

 

Brooke

 

 

The Liebster Award Nominee

LIEBSTER AWARDThis week, I have so much to share but first and foremost, I want to thank my fellow fanatic in thrifting and blogging, Lin from Hot For Houses for the Liebster Award nomination. Thank you, Lin! What is the Liebster Award you ask? Well, it’s basically to recognize up and coming writers/bloggers that are newer to the blogosphere and have under 500 viewers.

This nomination means that I get to answer some fun Q & A. Ready friends?

1. When did you start your blog, and what influenced you to start it? 

I started MidCenturyObsession in August 2012. I dedicated my blog to my late Grandmother, because after inheriting her fantastic mid-century modern furniture, I discovered this whole (addictive) world I didn’t even know existed. I’ve been obsessed ever since!

2. Describe yourself in one word.

CAFFINATED

3. What day of the week do you enjoy most?

Wednesday. Specifically the morning. Best time to thrift, be on the road, shop and enjoy not having to wait in line.

4. Do you collect anything? If so, what?

I’m actually the anti-collector. I’d describe myself as a minimalist. I LOVE to discard stuff (by stuff, that excludes MCM furniture. I have a whole different stance about that). If it doesn’t get used, it gets garage saled, Craigslisted, or donated. What a refreshing way to start over, or give a space a new look; to go back to scratch.

5. What is something you’ve done that you’re proud of?

I’ve learned to rescue and refinish furniture. One of the most rewarding things for me is to find something that needs a little lovin’ and to have the ability to give it life again. Plus, I can listen to Michael Jackson while pretending to be Michael Jackson, and no one can judge.

MJ

 

6. Currently, what song makes you happy?

Pretty much anything by The Black Keys makes me happy.

7. What is one piece of technology that you can’t live without?

My laptop. My “smartphone” mostly makes me feel stupid. And how can people stand everything being so tiny?

8. What has challenged you about blogging?

It’s been a challenge for me NOT to worry about what others think. I’m a people-pleaser by nature, and blogging has been very challenging in that I spend time I shouldn’t worrying about how many people will like what I have to say.

9. What would be a perfect day for you?

Being on the beach, hearing the surf, with my feet in the warm sand – watching my son fly a kite. (on a Wednesday when no one else is there)

10. How does your blog inspire others?

I would hope that my blog inspires others to try new projects, tackle DIY with optimism and remember that you seriously don’t have to pay retail for fantastic furniture. Blessed be the thrifty. No matter what your style – if you have a little patience and determination you can make any space uniquely yours (for less!).

11. What is your favorite food recipe?

I cook for a 5-year-old right now. If it involves cheese, it’s a winner. My favorite recipe would be a delicious steak and garlic mashed potatoes that I didn’t have to make, or clean up after.

 

So through this process I realized that I haven’t read the instructions thoroughly and should have answered totally different questions. (Like school, all over again) Whatevs. I also realized that I don’t follow enough up and comers like myself. Slap on hand. I will do better in the future! 7 out of 11 isn’t so bad.

Here are my nominees:

Hot For Houses – Check it out. For reals.

Mid Century Modern Remodel

HarlowandCrue

WestCoastModern – Where I got my fantastic teal couch. These guys are amazing!

Xchange Studio

Dear House, I love you

Vintage Revivals

New Questions for the Nominees:

1. What or who inspired you to become a blogger?

2. What is your favorite blog that you subscribe to? (big or small)

3. What is your favorite kind of music?

4. What do you do for fun?

5. Favorite childhood memory?

6. Name a place you love to visit and why.

7. What or who is the biggest influence in your life?

8. Wine: red or white?

9.  Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Fallon?

10. Beach or Mountains?

11. What would be your last meal?

Rules for the Nominees:

1. Answer the questions from the person who nominated you.

 

2. Nominate 11 new blogs with 500 followers or less.

 

3. Post 11 new questions for you nominees to answer.

 

4. Tag your nominees in your post and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been nominated!

GO!

Special PostScript Especially for Lin of Hot For Houses…

1. If you could know one person who is no longer alive, who would it be?

Ray Eames

2. Wine, or Jägermeister shot?

Wine all the way.

3. Who is your biggest influence?

My mother. She rocks.

4. Who has influenced you the least?

My dogs only influence the furniture I have to refinish. Other than that, they’re pretty mute on most subjects.

5. If you could be any place other than where you are right now, where would it be?

A warm sunny beach with a huge margarita in my hand…a magazine, and no one else around.

6. Edward or Jacob?

Never succumbed to the series.

7. Bella or Rosalie?

Who?

8. How often do you write in your blog?

I try for and most often complete 1/week.

9. How often do you wish you could write in your blog?

I think I’d exhaust myself any more than 1 time a week

10. If you could be on any reality T.V. show, what would it be?

Anything with Jeff Lewis. He makes me laugh.

11. What book or movie best describes you?

The Runaway Bride.

Thanks again, Lin! I’m honored! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Modernism Week Preview

A couple of weekends ago, I was joined by my lovely mother in Palm Springs for a tour of Modernism Week. We had selected a walking tour featuring Modern Commercial Structures of Fashion and Finance. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, and we found the tour to be both interesting and informative. The tour was offered through Modernism Week but hosted by Palm Springs Historical Society. There were people from all over the country and even Canada that joined us to view some of the buildings that line Indian Canyon Road and Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.

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Side note: If you go down to P.S. on your own, make sure to hit the Palm Springs Visitors Center and pick up a handy $5 map of “Modern Palm Springs.” That handy little thing is like GOLD to you MCM nuts out there. It has a detailed map numbered with 82 different points of interest, both residential and commercial. Each of those 82 points are listed and have a small description featuring address, year built, and architect info. JACKPOT!!!!

 

 

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This Union Bank above doesn’t look like much from the outside, but when you get to the terra-cotta wall that faces the street (500 S. Palm Canyon) you’ll see a beautiful story in pictures of Palm Springs history from it’s very beginning to modern-day. This location was an excellent example of desert modernism, as the rock façade (not pictured) incorporates the use of desert elements.

 

 

 

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This Bank of America (formerly City National Bank) building is not what you’d typically expect in MCM architecture, but exhibits use of mid-century modern components. “Brise-soleil” (pronounced bree-soh-ley) is an architectural element popular at the time that shielded the building from direct sunlight, but still allowed filtered light to enter the space. The reflection you see in the windows on the above-right photo used to be covered by a geometrically patterned brise-soleil as seen below.

 

Brise-Soleil. J PEG

Both photos shamlessly scanned from my new "Palm Springs Holiday" book by Peter Moruzzi. You need to get one.
Both photos shamelessly scanned from my new “Palm Springs Holiday” book by Peter Moruzzi. You need to get one.

Palm Springs Holiday

Thanks, Ma!

 

 

Anyway….I’m skipping some…but saving the best two for last.

Palm Springs 012 Palm Springs 010

Coachella Valley Savings and Loan (now known as Chase Bank) and it’s parabolas blew me away….

blog.preservationnation.org IMG_0371

 

 

And the former Santa Fe Savings building was under renovation and will be unveiled soon and will serve as a museum. Can’t wait to get back and see it after completion.

 

 

If you’re into mid-century modern architecture, a visit to Palm Springs is an absolute must. There is such a large concentration of original buildings that have been lovingly preserved and thoughtfully restored. Hooray for preservation!

Albert Frey's star....Frey was considered the father of "desert modernism."
Albert Frey’s star….Frey was considered the father of “desert modernism.”

The next Modernism Week is the biggest as far as tourist turn-out and tour offerings. It is in February 2014 and features more tours than you can shake a stick at. If you’re into mid-century modernism, desert modernism, or celebrity playgrounds of yore, get your butt out to Palm Springs. Some of the tours are already sold out….so if you want to go, you must get your tickets asap! Go to Modernism Week 2014.

 

Modernism Week in Palm Springs Fall Kick-Off!

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This week, I’ll be your informational fairy godmother…..Here’s the email I received from the folks at Modernism Week. Get your wallets out, and start clicking!!!! I’m defo doing the bus tour this year!!!!!

October 11-14, 2013

Modernism Week presents the “Fall Season Kick-Off” in Palm Springs over Columbus Day weekend October 11-14, 2013. The events include architectural walking and bike tours; festive cocktail parties; the ever-popular “Lost, Saved and Endangered” lecture; not-to-be-missed Modernism Week Double Decker Bus Tours; the Modernism Yard Sale with unique items; and PS Mod Com’s Annual Preservation Awards Luncheon.
Tours will depart from the Palm Springs Hilton Hotel, and advance reservations are required. Participation in events and tours helps support the mission of Modernism Week, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.
Tickets on sale now at modernismweek.com. All events are open to the public.
Special $139++ rates are available if you book before 9/20/13 at Hilton Palm Springs Resort, Modernism Week’s Official Host Hotel. Contact (760) 320-6868 or use the following link for reservations: Book Now

NEW DIGS, NEW CONTENT, MIDCENTURYOBSESSION IS MOVING!

Hello Loyal Subscribers and Friends,

MidCenturyObsession is growing! If you have enjoyed the Do It Yourself features, Thrifty Tips and other mid century modern-obsessed content, please click here and subscribe to my new and improved site so that my MCM goodness keeps coming your way!

MidCenturyObsession.co   (No…I didn’t forget the “m”  The IT nerds are saying “.co” is the new “.net”!!!!)

If you have suggestions on features, feedback or just wanna send some love, please email me at midcenturyobsession@gmail.com

New and exciting stuff to follow!

Brooke