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.

006

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

 

 

Welcome Additions

A few weeks back, I ventured to one of my favorite estate sale-ing haunts, Hemet, CA to shop for my Etsy store. I managed to find a few things for the shop-so do go and visit, but what’s more exciting is that I had a couple great finds for things we needed in our home.

I visited my good friend Sabrina, owner of Finders Keepers Estate Services and bought this fantastic Costco chair for $10. I’ve been wanting one for the kitchen for a couple of reasons: seating for my little man’s desk area, and for a step stool to get to my spices above the stove. This sweet and functional piece serves both purposes.

Cosco Chair in excellent vintage condition.
Cosco Chair in excellent vintage condition.

Then I moved on to another sale before heading out-of-town. I’m so glad I did. Remember our “office” that has to turn into a guest room? Problem is: it has no overhead electricity or outlet. Solution? Fantastic swag lamp!

Swagtastic!
Swagtastic!

I’m sure we’re breaking all sorts of Feng Shui rules in here. The bed is in line with the doors….GASP…but this was the best option for the space. Anyway, that gorgeous glass globe has 12 feet of chain and a wall mount for flipping it on and off from bed! $22 buckaroos solved a huge issue in this room.

My chair DIY project from last year in all it's orange glory aside my DeMan Goodwill find!
My DIY chair re-covering project from last year in all it’s orange glory aside my DeMan Goodwill find!

Not quite done with the wall pictured above…but that’s a project for another day. Once again, we’re ready to receive the guests. Next week, we’ll get in gear about getting ready to receive the baby (boy!). You know I’m going to have to have an overall midcentury modern feel in that room too…

005

…until then, sweet, swag-filled dreams to you.

 

Lasso some Brasso: Reviving Vintage Brass

If there’s a way for it to be done, no doubt you can find it out on the internet. There is no shortage of DIY to be seen. I read a DIY post on a very popular blog where it was assumed the readers knew how to re-wire a lamp. The author was so focused on the other parts of the do-it-yourself, that they skipped over a very large component: electricity. If there’s one thing that frustrates me, it is when a certain level of expertise is expected or there’s an implication the reader should already know.

That said, I’m really still learning about reviving, refreshing, and re-finishing vintage wares. More specifically, I didn’t know brass could be brought back to life so easily. Heard of Brasso? It’s so simple ANYONE can use it….and it can be found at Home Depot, Lowe’s and the like for just a few bucks. For all you chemical-hating hippies, there are other recipes, sure. One gal at a thrift shop recently noticed my brass purchase and informed me that 1/2 part vinegar to 1/2 part water would quickly and harmlessly revive my brass. Tried it, dipped it, worked at it…but no cigar. Brasso is the way forward if you want results and a lack of pungent vinegar stench.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked right past a brass piece while thrifting thinking to myself the pieces looked too old, or too dirty. Now, there are some who like a healthy “patina” on a piece of vintage metal. Me? Nope. I like it as shiny as the day it was made.

So here’s a DIY piece as easy as pie. Well….easier than that even.

You’ll need: Gloves for them baby soft hands, Brasso, a junk towel to keep the mess from getting on your working table top, one soft/lint-free cloth for application, and a second one for removal of the Brasso and polishing of the piece. (Side note: Brasso works for many different types of metals….its use is not limited to brass.)

BEFORE
BEFORE

I LOVE horses….but I almost passed on this $10 piece at a thrift shop both because I felt $10 was steep (see? I AM thrifty) and it looked like work. At this point, it’s night-time, and I’m just ready to get polishing.

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

 

Exhibit B
Exhibit B

Ah…Here’s a decent before. This is a brass vase found at Salvation Army with a halfway decent shot of my beloved Brasso in the background.

Pretty pony is starting to shine...
Pretty pony is starting to shine…

You can see at the tail portion pictured above how far we had to come for this piece. Mr. Ed was DOO-DOO BROWN when I found him, y’all. He had some serious dark circles around his eyes, and I was thinking we may have to put him down..but they came right out!

Okay…so here’s the scoop! Apply the Brasso generously to a dry cloth and then apply to the metal piece like you would if you were waxing a car. Don’t get crazy and wax your entire brass piece all at once. The Brasso will dry too quickly and your results won’t be quite as good. Wax on, wax off, my friends. Take your time…it will be worth it.

Small parts at a time...
Small parts at a time…

 

020
See the difference?

 

You can see what a difference a quick polishing can make. Here's a half and half example.
You can see what a difference a quick polishing can make. Here’s a half and half example.

Here’s my gorgeous Mr. Ed…in all his glory

EEEhee-hee is right!!!
EEEhee-hee is right!!!

Here’s a re-cap:

BEFORE
BEFORE
EEEhee-hee is right!!!
AFTER

UBER-easy DIY, y’all! So next time you’re out bargain hunting…don’t pass on the brass. Lasso the Brasso and give it some lovin’ and rubbin’.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

Succulent Fever

The idea is not new; in fact they’re everywhere. Low-maintenance succulents. Magazines, design shows, on people’s walls, fences and even their cousin, the “air plant” is hanging from the ceilings. In love with anything I can’t easily kill, I figured out a way to fill my time, and some unused vintage pottery. Hold on to your seats for another really simple tutorial.

This month’s Sunset magazine featured them…010 012 013

Lin at one of my favorite blogs, Hot for Houses posted this wall frame tutorial. Inspired, but not brave enough to put plants on my wall, I had been looking for something to do with some unused vintage pottery and figured now is a good a time as any.

Here’s my pottery. Pretty on the outside, not much to look at on the inside.

002 004

All I needed were the plants which I bought (3) for $6 at Home Depot in various colors and heights. If you plant your own cuttings, you can save on the expense of new plants…but as I said before, I can kill almost anything. They’re safer living at Home Depot.

001

Step 1. Step outside with your soil. I used Cactus, Palm and Citrus Soil.
Step 1. Step outside with your soil. I used Cactus, Palm and Citrus Soil, and some unwanted glass beads in the bottom for drainage in case I got over zealous with the H2O.
Step 2. Add soil.
Step 2. Add soil.
Step 3. Arrange your babies. Be sure to pack in some more soil once placed.
Step 3. Arrange your babies. Be sure to pack in some more soil once placed.

 

Voila! Table top ready!
Voila! Table top ready!

See? A beautiful centerpiece and a great way to dress-up and display your vintage pottery. Also, the easiest tutorial ever…or so you think. Join me next week, I have more in store.

 

 

 

Heroes in Modern Design

Modern-day designer Jonathan Adler does a beautiful job of mixing modern work with the mid-century modern aesthetic of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. That’s what I hope to do when procuring pieces for my own home. The other day, I had a woman in my living room buying furniture from me via Craigslist, and she said as we were talking, “Oh my God, this looks just like my Grandmother’s house!” HA! I took it as a compliment. I don’t know about you, but my grandmother had flawless mid-century modern taste. That comment, however, was a good reminder for me to remember to add some updated touches to keep my home from looking “old.”

004This can be done with a fresh coat of paint, accessories, mod drapes, or updated patterns. (Notice the chevron pillow purchased at Pier 1 prior to the chevron explosion. I have however, managed to resist the mustache accessories. Never got the mustache thing.)

If you know me, you know I’m not much of a shopper (my husband will claim otherwise)  but when I hit Nordstrom Rack on a rare “girls day” with my mom and sister-in-loves, I was delighted to see my man Jonathan Adler on deep discount. (Authors apologies for camera phone pics taken on the fly)

Scottsdale. Never been, but it smells of sweet, addictive crack.
Scottsdale. Never been, but it smells of sweet, addictive crack.

Seriously. I couldn’t stop sniffing the Scottsdale “sugar cactus.” I don’t even remember what Telluride smelled like because I was high on scent. Delicious, sweet, intoxicating scent. Candle was marked down to $16. I didn’t pop for it as much as I wanted it. See? I have restraint.

At this point, we experienced a small earthquake in the store. The lady next to me said, “Does this mean we should stop shopping?” Hells, no, lady-hey…sniff some of this Sugar Cactus!!! Even the earth moving beneath my feet cannot keep me from admiring Jonathan Adler’s work.

Penguin Salt & Pepper Shakers
Penguin Salt & Pepper Shakers down to $28 from $48

 

Cat Salt and Pepper Shakers
Cat Salt and Pepper Shakers Discounted to $28 from $48

MEOW!!!! These are the best kind of cats to own in my personal experience. They won’t pee on your carpet or leave tumbleweeds of hair that blow across the floor of your home, reminding you of your failure to not only keep the house clean, but of your inability to earn their acceptance.

Not big on animal S & P? How about Jonny’s lovely line of Futura…bringing that mod pop to your kitchen.

Futura Salt and Pepper Shakers
Funky Futura Salt and Pepper Shakers

These bottle stoppers, also down to $28 would make a great wedding shower gift, or host/hostess gift.

Bottle Stopper
Bottle Stoppers. You can’t escape the ‘stache.

Now! To the subject of stationery. Can you ever have enough? No. No, you cannot. How many times have you run through the house looking for those elusive post it notes to write on? $7 bucks will get you these:

Note Pads in Dogs, Fish and Owls
Note Pads in Dogs, Fish and Owls
Don't like animals and prefer your notes to have your initals? Look no more.
Don’t like animals and prefer your notes to have your initals? Perhaps you’re an early Christmas shopper looking for stocking stuffers.  Look no more.

While we’re on the subject of stationery, I must applaud Mr. Adler for so fashionably bringing note cards back. Tell me I’m not the only one who still does this!?!? In a world of texting and t.v….isn’t it still so nice to know someone thought enough of you to hand write a note, or a thank you? Bring it back, people. You can start here:

Hoot Squirrel Waves

Mom claimed this little box o’ gems, choc full of unique cards for only $7. Go Ma! Go! I want the squirrel one with the “GO NUTS!” (Now I’m kind of wishing I had….gone nuts, that is, and bought one of everything. Ah, well.)

If you have a Nordy’s Rack in your hood….swing by and check it out! Jonathan Adler (on sale) will not disappoint – or damage that pocket-book too much.

What better way to keep your home from looking and feeling stale. Toss in some updated pieces or accessories and voila! You have beauty in balance.

 

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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Life Lessons

The theme that keeps revealing itself to me seems to be “you can’t take it with you.” I like to think I’m the type of person who doesn’t collect a lot of “stuff” or get attached to things. I like a clean-looking, uncluttered home, so I tend to focus on a few key vintage pieces and try to stay out of Target. This week’s reminder is a good one for any of us, really. It ain’t going with you when you leave.

My baby news was revealed last week, and instead of upsizing our home like so many Americans might, we are downsizing; getting rid of some of our belongings, and moving the rooms around. The “office” must now fit in our master bedroom, what was the office will become a guest room, and the guest room a nursery. No big deal right? Except for the fact that we have to get rid of the “things” we didn’t anticipate having to be rid of.

On the chopping block via Etsy or Craigslist:

Parting with Pearsall
Parting with Pearsall

The “reading nook” will now serve as an office nook. I was sure I was going to rock MY estate sale with this piece, but instead, Mr. Pearsall will be leaving us earlier than anticipated. Adriaaaaaaaaan!

As for our ginormous office desk? It too, will be leaving, and this room will be a place for our visitors. With an Irishman as a husband, our visitors stay for weeks at a time – so having a room available is necessary.

001 006

Goodbye Masterful Mad Men-esque Desk. Boo.

And just a month or so ago, even my dog was reminding me it’s important not to become “attached” to the things of this world…by ripping a HOLE in the side of my favorite chair.

Moreddi Inc chair...pride of place in the living room....BEFORE PHOTO
Moreddi Inc chair…pride of place in the living room….BEFORE PHOTO
OMG!!!!!!!!! AFTER PHOTO
OMG!!!!!!!!! AFTER PHOTO
006 (4)
GUILTY AS HELL. Look at that face. I had to lock her out while I considered her fate. Bitch.

Good news is the dog is still with us. Despite my initial emotion, I decided against “gifting” her to another family who could put up with her antics. She is completely dysfunctional – but she is part of the family. Our “Black Pearl” reminded me that the chair is just that….JUST a CHAIR. I can have it fixed (someday) but I can’t take it with me. It’s in the garage until I can get it recovered, and all of our butts have survived unscathed, despite not being able to sit its loveliness.

I thought I’d learned this lesson, and could part with my “stuff” pretty easily, or at least hande it being damaged without losing my top. Turns out I can…sometimes you just need a little reminding about what’s important.  I hope my lesson reminds you that the kids and animals – while they’re a mess and they ruin your “stuff”…they are the real treasures.

Cha – Cha- Cha- Changes!

Guest Bedroom
Guest Bedroom

Remember this room? Ah, yes. The newly finished guest room. Functional and cozy. Well….as life would have it, this room will have to be moved downstairs, the office somewhere to be determined….and by September this room shall be a nursery.

Hooray! So this week has been a whirlwind of shifting needs, ideas, furniture, and planning for what the future holds. Being the smallest room of the house, we’ve got to figure out a way to create a cozy nursery and of course, it MUST be in keeping with the mid-century modern theme.

I promise not to spend the next 6 months blogging about baby-related MCM, but just a fair warning that I am feeling inspired since discovering that having a baby in the house doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Case in point, this high chair:

Boon High Chair
Boon High Chair

WHAT THE WHAT!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?! You mean my kid gets to sit in his or her own tulip chair? Yes, please!

Anyway, this weekend, my mother and I did some search and destroy shopping (our favorite kind) in Orange. I’d found a “mid-century atomic rocker” on Craigslist, and had gone up that way to visit for the weekend. Orange just happens to be not too far from where my folks live. After downing a FANTASTIC breakfast at Flappy Jacks, we hit up the Chapman Antique Mall in Orange where this rocker was located. One of the vendors there had advertised the chair on CL and like heat-seeking missiles, we headed directly to where all the mid-century modern wares were held. (Hint to the locals: It’s downstairs in the “basement.”) Long story short, after a failed attempt at haggling and hitting some alternative spots, we returned to claim said rocker (this “rocker” while in great shape, needs to be recovered as it looks like Uncle Bill lost his liquid lunch in a few places). My mother decided it would be her shower gift to me, and that I could have it recovered. Thanks, Ma! It is after all, mid-century; what with its atomic stems. Its small to fit the scale of the room, and completely functional: it rocks, turns, and swivels. WEEE!

So here’s the chair…..I can’t WAIT to start figuring out what fabric to have it upholstered with. I’m thinking something velvety. Yummy.

005 002

Stay tuned for updates, I’ll have to be creative to “fund-raise” on a tight budget. I see even more changes via furniture flogging in my future…and one fashionable nursery.

Where to Find MCM Online!

If you’re one of those folks who have endured my many rantings on the virtues of thrifting and thought to yourself, “Yeah. Right. With all my spare time…” this post is for you. Where do those of us who have lives, jobs, children, and/or no time to search the ends of the earth for vintage finds go to buy vintage? I’ll tell you!

You may have heard of Hunters Alley, an off-shoot of popular website OneKingsLane. Hunters Alley is one of the places where you can find lightly curated and hand-picked vintage pieces on offer. If you’re a seller, you can sign up to sell your wares online, provided you make the cut. Hunters Alley has gorgeous stuff. Here’s the catch though: the website isn’t super-organized, and that is a major turn-off for someone like me. You can’t go there and search by “Mid Century Modern” or “80’s Fluff N Stuff” or ANYTHING for that matter.  Well, you can – in the tiny “search” window at the top if you can find it – but your results will feature a mish-mash of anything with that title, meaning you’ll get everything from housewares, to fixtures to brass decor and furniture. Ain’t nobody got time for that! If you try to narrow your search, you’ll get no results. Alternatively, if you navigate straight from the home page and you’re looking for vintage furniture, you have to sift through every type of piece they have in stock – Victorian, Japanese-style, art deco, gag me – all of it, in order to view the odd mid-century modern piece. At least with parent company, OneKingsLane, you have the option of selecting to shop by categories such as “vintage” or “mid century modern furniture,” saving your valuable time.

Hunters Alley competitor, Chairish is another way for you to get your fill of vintage furnishings. Bonus points for the insta-coupon that was emailed to me when I signed up for the site. You can view pieces by “latest arrivals” or very simple categories such as “seating” “lighting” “tables” and so forth. Scroll down further, and you’ll find even more categories and fabulousness to choose from.  This site allows for easy navigation, and fair pricing. (It’s no thrift shop, but you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.) I could go on all day about the beautiful stuff they have…but you’ll have to go and check it out for yourself! If you find something you love, you can share it via Facebook, Tweet it, PinIt (via Pinterest) or add it to your Ideabook on Houzz.com! Nothing like being able to give  not-so-subtle hints to the ones you love.

There you have it children – your assignment for the weekend. Go forth and search! Don’t have time to thrift and pick? No problem. Be ready to spend a bit more, but with that comes less hassle, more drooling, and the peace of mind that you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.