Passion Pursuit

This week, a friend posted a link to a very thought-provoking article called, “Screw Finding Your Passion.” In it the author, Mark Manson; tired of getting emails from people asking how they can find their passion, basically pointed to the lack of pursuit, more than the not knowing. We tend to ignore that which consumes most of our free-time not because we don’t know what we like, but rather out of fear, laziness, or avoidance.  We tell ourselves it couldn’t possibly make us money. It wouldn’t be practical. The negative self-talk sets in, and we ignore what we should be pursuing, all the while wondering why we’re so miserable. My passion is all things mid-century modern, and I make no apologies. The fashion, the architecture, the furniture; I spend stupid amounts of free time looking at it, implementing it into my daily life, and learning about it.  I watch shows like Mad Men and Masters of Sex, read books about Charles and Ray Eames, and the other big designers of the time. Anything to get a glimpse of life back then. I stumbled upon this passion and I’m so glad I did, because for whatever reason, it continues to intrigue me. How many people can say that they get to focus on what they love? Mr. Manson’s colorful illustration was the kick in the pants I needed to finish my “pet bed project” for the blog that was taking too long to complete. It’s not that I didn’t want to do it, it’s that I made everything else in my life a priority while I put my “passion” on the back burner. And that’s okay too. Sometimes you have to choose. Life happens but the point is deep down, you know what you love. You just have to open your eyes. I highly recommend reading it if you need a little encouragement and don’t mind a few strategically placed f*bombs.  Find the link here.

On to the fun stuff. This week, I decided to depart from my usual purist tendencies for an upcycle project. I took a useless old remote speaker from the 1960’s (once part of a larger unit) and turned it into a pet bed.  I own a fat dog who would much rather fart in my lap, but I do think this piece would make a fantastic cat bed. You decide.

So unlike the usual blog…I created a YouTube video to show the transformation. Keep in mind, this was an experiment. I’d do a few things differently next time, but I am pleased with the final product.

 

Before.
Before.
After. Meow.
After. Meow.

Did you watch the video or just skip ahead? Stop being lazy. It’s like 1 minute long. Geez.

If you’re thinking I’m crazy, and you’d  rather spend $400- $600 on a custom pet bed, I am as always, here to help.

No seriously. Some people love their fur babies more than their actual blood relatives. I’m not here to judge. If you’ve got major love for your dog or cat and a case of the MCM fever, check out these other options:

 

Hey! My cat needs a cute place to do his business. Go here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/191119047/the-mini-cabinet-mid-century-modern-pet?ref=listing-shop-header-3
“Hey! My cat needs a cute place to do his business.” Go here:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/191119047/the-mini-cabinet-mid-century-modern-pet?ref=listing-shop-header-3
Cairudesign can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/166359696/mid-century-modern-cat-furniture?ref=shop_home_active_4
“Cat towers are hideous!” Cairudesign can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/166359696/mid-century-modern-cat-furniture?ref=shop_home_active_4

 

A frenchie sitting on anything gets my vote:

For the Lloyd Dog Bed go here: ttps://www.etsy.com/listing/166176684/lloyd-dog-bed?ref=shop_home_active_9
“Um, I paid 2 grand for my dog. He will NOT sleep on a Walmart bed.” For the Lloyd Dog Bed go here: ttps://www.etsy.com/listing/166176684/lloyd-dog-bed?ref=shop_home_active_9

As it so happens, my passion is not making pet beds. I appreciate them, but I’ll leave it to the experts.

That said, my cute little custom number will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop AND at the 1st Annual Murrieta Valley High School Flea Market on November 7th.

Come and see me! I’ll have all my pieces on display and for sale! More info to follow next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Elbow Grease

It’s amazing to me what a throw-away society we live in. I see it all the time in my MCM groups on Facebook. Pictures of gorgeous solid wood furniture, thrown out with the trash. Completely salvageable and not to mention beautiful pieces left on street corners, alleyways and in dumpsters. Luckily, there are folks out there that value the old, and can see the sometimes hidden potential. I can’t say I’ve been dumpster diving before…but I have great admiration those that have. I’ve seen some really stunning pieces saved and given new life by some of my fellow MCM fanatics.

While I tend to find my treasures in thrift shops, (my city is considered wine country, and its overrun with rod-ironed Tuscan fever. Yikes) I almost feel a duty to regularly frequent said shops to “save” neglected pieces. When I take a break from stocking my store, or looking for something for my own home, I feel as though somehow I’ll be missing out on something. (That might also be considered addiction…but who’s judging!?)

In recent weeks, I’ve found some pretty serious treasures that just needed some good old-fashioned elbow grease. In fairness, I can see how someone might have passed them by; either too busy to bother, or maybe they just didn’t know what they were looking at. You’ll see why I’ve been busy – but not busy blogging. I’ll bust these out into separate DIY tutorials later…but for now, here are some of the things I’ve been working on:

PROJECT 1: Bar Cart Revival

-So this piece was Nasty McNasty. Cobwebs, worn finish, scratched glass from being used to hold flower pots outdoors…

BEFORE PHOTO 1
BEFORE PHOTO 1
Bar Cart Project
BEFORE PHOTO 2
AFTER: Cleaned, sanded and painted.
AFTER: Cleaned, sanded and painted.

I kept the glass, just cleaned it up a bit and refinished the frame with some gold spray paint. Voila! We are so HOLLYWOOD!

AFTER PHOTO 2 - Bar Service
AFTER PHOTO 2 – Bar Service

PROJECT 2 – Dorothy Thorpe Roly Poly Glasses

-These guys were simple…they just needed some time spent polishing them.  Come on now… who wouldn’t do a little work to have these beauties at your bar?

BEFORE: Dorothy's looking pretty varnished
BEFORE: Dorothy’s looking pretty varnished
001
DURING PHOTOS: I used a soft silver cleaning cloth in order to minimize silver loss, rather than using harsh chemicals. After all, they will be used to DRINK out of.
DURING PHOTOS: I used a soft silver cleaning cloth in order to minimize silver loss, rather than using chemicals.
Do you see the difference in the three on left and three on right? Night and day. I did feel like I might be developing carpal tunnel, but the end result was worth it!
Dorothy Thorpe (1)
AFTER: Oh it’s HAPPY HOUR, GUYS AND GALS!
AFTER: Oh it's HAPPY HOUR!
No seriously, these are going up for sale tomorrow in my store! 🙂 If you want them, go get them! https://www.etsy.com/shop/MidCenturyObsession?ref=si_shop

PROJECT 3: Arne Vodder Teak Drop Leaf Desk FOUND!

-This desk was dull and sad-looking. He had some white water stains, what looked to be a burn mark, and just needed a facelift. Challenge accepted!

BEFORE: Arne Vodder Danish Teak Desk
BEFORE: Arne Vodder Danish Teak Desk

Desk 4 burn stain

DURING PHOTOS: Stains and all, this baby just needed some lovin'.
DURING PHOTOS:
Stains and all, this baby just needed some lovin’.
AFTER: BANG!
AFTER: BANG!
AFTER:  BOOM!
AFTER:
BOOM!

I’m not tooting my own horn, here. This is just what I love to do. I’ve learned that despite whatever others might tell you, wanting to improve things and make them beautiful again is not a shortcoming, it’s a gift. The best part is that these projects are relatively simple. You just need a little time, maybe some caffeine and some tenacity. Next time you’re in need of something for your home, consider hitting your local thrift stores; recycling and reusing. Try to resist the “immediate gratification” we’ve become so accustomed to. The amount of pride you will get out of bringing something unwanted back to life again is worth the wait (and the elbow grease).

 

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.