Emperor’s New Clothes

Do you ever get the feeling as you peruse Etsy.com or Ebay.com or any of those sites that things are getting out of control? I’m talking about shops and sellers that feature the sale of certain mid-century and mid-century modern furniture, etc. I’m going to be brutally honest, because if you can’t be brutally honest on your own blog, what’s the point of having one?

Having become a shop owner myself, I now have a better understanding of what it takes to score these vintage finds, how much time, driving, gas, and effort is required. The time for sourcing, unloading, refinishing in many cases, cleaning, photographing and listing. Most of my work and time isn’t compensated. I’ll be honest. I do it for the love of the hunt…the thrill of getting something completely unique and cool into the hands of someone who I know will appreciate it. I have been so snarky in the past about pricing being thrifty myself, but since becoming an Etsy shop owner, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut for the most part. This “job” isn’t easy.

One required task I didn’t mention is research. The more research I do, the more I get this feeling that there are too many delusional sellers out there. Fab.com, 1stdibs.com, even some people selling via Craigslist….I’ll be honest: I LAUGH OUT LOUD at some of the prices I’m seeing these days. Who in their right minds would pay those kinds of prices? I realize that there is a lot of work required in finding these things….and refinishing, and cost associated with outsourcing if the refinishing is beyond your scope or ability. BUT SERIOUSLY. I live in one of the most expensive MCM markets in the country, and I don’t get it. I do, however, get the sneaking suspicion that people are trying to pay the mortgage with the sale of a single chair, for example. Do you feel what I’m puttin’ down?

Allow me to paint a picture. I found a rare Brown Saltman Dining Set….John Keal was the designer, and the set is totally atomic, straight out of the 50’s. Being pregnant, and not able to mess with things like now powdery-foam chairs and refinishing wood with nasty chemicals, I outsourced the refinishing of this piece to a professional. He did such a beautiful job it actually took my breath away. I wish I had an adequate before photo. The seat material was ripped to shreds, and every time you moved the chairs, orange powder spilled out of them (what used to be foam). The wood was scuffed and the finish had seen much better days.

So I had the whole thing refinished….keeping only the maker’s mark and string chair backs untouched. My guy even reattached the Brown Saltman manufacturing tags to the underside of the newly upholstered chairs.

004 006

 

007 012 011

Okay, so are you with me so far? Stunning. The seats are actually a chartreuse color. The photographs give it more of a lime tint, but I assure you the seats are quintessential mid-century mod pops of chartreuse. The wood is a warm and cheery (but still sophisticated) pecan color. Everything is working perfectly….the table pulls out for the leaf extension seamlessly. The chairs. I mean….the legs, the shape. Could you just DIE?

But there are only 3 chairs. Insert sad music here. A bit of a bummer, but I priced accordingly, thinking in today’s market mixing and matching complementing chairs is all the rage anyway. All things considered, this set is currently in my Etsy shop for an affordable and practical $1500.00.  So guess what I found AFTER pricing my table and chairs? A set exactly like this one, (I’m not sure how re-finished) only with 4 chairs on 1stdibs.com for……wait for it….wait for it……$4500.00

Excuse me? I’m sorry, what?

I can’t speak for 1stdibs….but the chair pads look original, as does the dirty material they’re finished in. And they want HOW much for this?

Found on 1stdibs.com
Found on 1stdibs.com

Most people don’t spend that kind of money on their first car. No, really – they don’t. And I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on ANY dining room table and chairs. I don’t care if I had enough money to wipe my a** with. It’s just WRONG.

Am I alone here? Hello? I hope I haven’t offended anyone. It just baffles my mind and all I can think of is The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen.  I’m all about making a little cash-but this is a fleecing, 1stdibs.  I hope at some point this MCM mania dies down a bit, and we can all come back down to reality. This stuff should be affordable; just as the original manufacturers and designers intended it to be all those years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

IMG_8472

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.

IMG_8669

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

IMG_8492

Baby and I are so blessed.

 

 

 

Nursery Nutbag & the Pouf Problem

I’m obsessing. I know I am. I can’t help it. I’m not a designer, nor do I have a bottomless budget for this new project I’ve embarked upon. Perhaps that’s why it’s taking me so long to finish our mid-century modern inspired nursery.

I’m getting there, but I don’t think I’ve ever given so much thought to one room. This really makes me re-think my “abilities” in the department of design. Okay, okay, so the budget is part of it. I can’t just see stuff and buy it. I have to scrounge, Craigslist some things to buy other things…I have to save, I have to be creative. (Let’s not forget I’d much rather recycle and reuse than buy new.)

I don’t want to give too much away yet…but I do need help from all you designer-istas out there!

Once again….here’s where my inspiration began:

Here's the idea board found on Pinterest.
Here’s the idea board found on Pinterest.

I’m not sticking to it 100%….there will be more vintage furniture than new – but you get the idea.

Here are my colors:

Color Pallette
Color Palette

And here was part of my challenge this week:

Feeding & Reading Nook - in need of side table and foot stool/ottoman
Feeding & Reading Nook – in need of side table and foot stool/ottoman

The scoop: this room that is becoming the “mid-century modern-inspired” nursery is the smallest room in our entire house. Tiny, in fact. It goes without saying that every square inch needs to feature clean design while being multi-functional. This particular corner that backs up to the closet – will be the “feeding & reading nook” as I’ve named it. After an exhaustive search for the very trendy floor “pouf” or ottoman, I decided to stick with traditional MCM instead. Can I just say how ridiculously expensive the little balls of fabric and stuffing are? Oh.My.Goodness!

A pouf such as this one from CB2 will cost you $80 before shipping:

knitted graphite pouf from CB2
knitted graphite pouf from CB2

…okay, so maybe not terrible, but it wasn’t quite the right color, and it was more than I wanted to spend. On a pouf. Do you feel me? Plus, my anal-retentive personality kicked in and all I could think of was trying to vacuum dog hair, dry spit up, and crushed up Cheerios from between the knits.  Stay with me….

So then I thought….how about a leather pouf? Or better yet, a Moroccan Pouf!!! In TEAL!!!

Moroccan Pouf Found on AllModern.com
Moroccan Pouf Found on AllModern.com

That’ll be $139 before shipping. And too big for my tiny space. Beautiful. Fun. Colorful and functional. Don’t get me wrong. Just not what I needed.

So then I turned (as I have a milllllllion times before) to Etsy.com. Low and behold, I found it. My solution. An orange vinyl foot stool/ottoman with fantastic atomic legs just like those on my sweet little rocker.

Hello, Gorgeous!
Hello, Gorgeous!

Stool top

Once I get the okay – I’ll let you know what shop I found this little treasure in! This little guy will soon be on its way to me – and I can’t wait to be able to feature it in the room reveal.

Here’s what I need help with from my design-savvy readers:

Finding an affordable side table that is small, functional and affordable. I was originally thinking a Saarinen tulip side table (not necessarily name brand)…

Tulip Side Table Repro
Tulip Side Table Repro

… and then Google knocked me down a few notches. Even the reproductions start at close to $200. Vintage is twice that! Yikes!

So then I got to thinking about our very loose “woodland animal” theme… and thought about bringing some different materials in. What about a wood side table? Have you seen these around?

Eco-Friendly and Pretty unique.
Eco-Friendly and Pretty unique.

Eco-Friendly Wood Stumps…your thoughts?

That’s where I’m, well, stumped. This Nursery Nutbag needs help. Texture? Color? Materials? Functionality? Any suggestions would be sooooo welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brass is Back

That’s right, folks. Brass is back, and mixing finishes is no longer considered design disaster. And thank goodness too, because I don’t know if I could handle not having the approval of designers everywhere. HA!

You’ve probably heard the saying “rules are made to be broken,” and in the past mixing finishes such as silver, brass, gold, and brushed stainless steel was a big no-no. It’s pretty evident however, that idea is falling away and people are feeling more empowered to take home design into their own hands.  Interest in the mid-century modern aesthetic and designing with vintage pieces lends itself to a little mix and match. All the better, I say!

Here are some of my favorite brass pieces featured on Etsy.com that just go to show that brass is back in a big way (If you haven’t been to Etsy.com yet, you’re missing out.).

Brass Lighting:

Check out this FANTASTIC 1970's 5-armed floor lamp from alsdesignvintage
Check out this FANTASTIC 1970’s 5-armed floor lamp from alsredesignvintage

For more information about this piece, follow this link:

alsredesignvintage

Brass Home Décor:

Etsy Seller genrestoration has quite a few brass figurines if you're looking for yourself, or as a gift for a friend.
Etsy Seller genrestoration has quite a few brass figurines if you’re looking for yourself, or as a gift for a friend.

Link to Mr. Peacock and others: genrestoration

Brass Wall Hangings:

Etsy Seller TheWildWorld offers flying brass seagulls
Etsy Seller TheWildWorld offers flying brass seagulls

Link to TheWildWorld

Brass Gracing Dining Tables:

There's even brass in my shop! MidCenturyObsession
There’s even brass in my shop! MidCenturyObsession

Link to Atomic Brass Candle Holders: MidCenturyObsession

Brass Accessories:

Brass Magazine Rack from VintageShoppingSpree
Brass Magazine Rack from VintageShoppingSpree

Link for more: VintageShoppingSpree

Brass as an Accent for Mid Century Modern furniture:

Danish Modern offerings with Brass Accents
Danish Modern offerings with Brass Accents from OstrichandPeacock

For more info: OstrichandPeacock

Brass Planters:

Brass planter from TheCottageCheese
Brass planter from TheCottageCheese

Link to this and more! See TheCottageCheese “Brass Menagerie”

Here’s a quick tip if you decide to put some brass into your design. Use Brasso. You can get it at Lowe’s or Home Depot….and I’ve tried the half and half vinegar/water mixture and haven’t had much luck. Brasso works beautifully to bring aged patina back to bright and shiny. (Make sure to use a soft, lint free cloth)

It’s evident to me no matter where you shop, that brass is definitely back – and not going anywhere anytime soon. Feel free to step out of the matchy-matchy box.  It can be done with excellent results!

Join me next week….we’re going to talk trending shops for Mid Century Modern Design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trending: The Bar Cart

I’m baaaaaaaack! Took a little breather in January but I’m back and boy do we have some fun trending MCM info to discuss. Now, I try to be a positive and upbeat person, but I can’t help but point out when things seem to be getting a little silly. The typical “Mad Men” bar cart is everywhere. Everyone wants one (myself included)….and the prices are going through the roof. It’s getting crazy, people. Here’s a picture perfect example of a bar cart from Entertainment Weekly:

Bar Cart

Okay….so you get the idea. The bar cart is a place to congregate, entertain, serve drinks, talk about the day….and they conveniently roll from room to room! So what would you pay for a bar cart?  A few weeks back, I was in a thrift shop and spotted something labeled as a “utility shelf.” Well, it was mostly wood, had two shelves, it was on casters, and looked a lot like a bar cart. I snorted to myself when I saw the price tag of $45. Pretty bold for a thrift shop, right? Well, as I left, I noticed the “Everything 50% off” sign. I told myself I’d think about it and come back if I really wanted it. Later that day, I decided it was worth a trip back; but guess what? My bar cart was gone. Snapped up by a much smarter someone else. I’ve been kicking myself since. Here’s why: you really can’t find a bar cart on Etsy or Ebay for less than $100 now. Maybe someday, interest will die down, and we’ll see some relief-but I wouldn’t expect that to happen any time soon. In fact, a carbon copy of the Mad Men version pictured above is on Etsy right now for $4000.00. Yes. Four THOUSAND dollars. Apparently, it was designed in 1952 by Italian designer Cesare Lacca and it is “much sought after.” Now, I’m an Etsy store owner myself and I support other shop owners. But that price tag is ridiculous. Absolutely insane.

If you’re interested in building your own bar, Etsy.com is actually a great place to start. There are so many different variations; shape, size, material – you can decide what type of bar cart fits your space and budget. If you lean toward the industrial look and love projects, laceandlacquer.com featured a cool DIY tutorial on this type of cart:

laceandlacquer.com
laceandlacquer.com

I did find one bar cart under $100 from one of my favorite sellers on Etsy.com. Shop name is  Carouselandfolk. I love reasonable prices and reasonable sellers!

Click on the link above, or search carouselandfolk on Etsy.com
Click on the link above, or search carouselandfolk on Etsy.com

More to that point, here are a few other notable offerings…

If Hollywood Regency is more your style, Etsy seller “HardFinds” has this:

Click on Link above or go to Etsy.com and search: hardfinds
Click on link above or go to Etsy.com and search hardfinds

My funky-stand-out favorite is this one from Artiques71:

Etsy.com search artiques71
Etsy.com search artiques71

Need a pop of color? Check out ElectricMarigold:

Etsy.com search ElectricMarigold
Etsy.com search ElectricMarigold

Finally, if Typical Teak is your look – look no further. TwoGuysVintage has this:

TwoGuysVintage
Click link above or go to Etsy.com and search “TwoGuysVintage”

 

As you can see, there still some fair prices out there – and so many different types of carts to choose from. Happy Shopping….and may your bar cart bring lots of entertaining and enjoyment to your future! By the way…if you find a deal or a steal – I’d love to hear about it!

CHEERS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankfulness….

When I think of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I feel totally and completely blessed.

It seems silly to complain at all, really. But just for fun….let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind that I’m NOT so thankful for: The price of mid-century modern furnishings these days.

I’ve talked about it before….and it seems to only be getting worse; as the popularity of the mid-century modern and retro movement gains momentum, so do the price tags of these items. Okay, okay….so I do benefit from that myself. I am an Etsy shop owner. I do make a very minimal profit on each an every item I find and offer for sale. However, my husband would tell you it’s just enough to keep me shopping and barely covers the cost of me driving all over the place “treasure hunting.” There are others that make a living, or supplement their incomes by sourcing, repairing, and subsequently selling MCM furniture. More power to them! However, with my budget, I’m better off on my own.

Recently I was in an online forum where we were discussing the price of items on the west coast. Comparatively speaking, most California prices are hefty, and it’s better to source what you need from people who are willing to ship to you from across the country. Or, you can do as the pilgrims did, and work for it yourself.

Take my advice and make it a habit to seek out your nearest thrift store. You might be really surprised by what you find. One of my favorite local shops is Angel View. There are stores in Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet and Palm Springs as well. Their organization supports and employs the disabled, so it’s not only fun; it’s also for a good cause. Let me tell you…I’ve scored treasures unlike anywhere else at Angel View. The trick is to go during the week in the early morning hours. That’s when the pickin’ is best. If you are a 9-5er like so many are, maybe make it an occasional lunch break outing. Find a Goodwill or Salvation Army near you, pack your lunch and head out for a quick hunt! Another tip is to sign up for EstateSales.net notifications. They’ll send you weekly emails on estate sales in your area. Most of the estate companies feature photos, so you’ll know what to expect before heading out the door. For you 9-5ers who can’t “thrift” during the week, most estate sales are featured on weekends-Fri/Sat/Sun.

Here are a couple of my most recent scores located at a thrift shops. They will be recycled and re-loved in my home:

Thrift find.
The coffee table in my den is a thrift find.
Sugar/Tea/Coffee/Flour aaaaand Bread Canister by Crestline 14.99 at Goodwill - and $100 on Etsy.com
Sugar/Tea/Coffee/Flour aaaaand Bread Canister by Crestline. These seem to be pretty rare in this condition, and the only similar one I could find on Etsy is now going for over $100. Say what?! I had to scrub a thick layer of tar off this baby, but it was so worth it. Turns out tar is not just a nasty by-product of the smokin’ mid-century, but it also happens to be an EXCELLENT preservative.

 

Look at her! I found her, in all her original upholstery and glory this week. She's not perfect, and needs a tiny bit of work, but she's mine forever, and I would have paid out the nose for her elsewhere.
Look at her! I found her, in all her original upholstery and glory this week. She’s not perfect, and needs a tiny bit of work, but she’s mine forever, and I would have paid out the nose for her elsewhere.

 

So take it from me, you lovers of MCM: If you’re on a modest budget and aren’t happy about the prices you see out there, do your research and get to steppin’! So as the pilgrims learned to sow the ground they landed on, you too shall reap the benefit of your own sweat and tears! And that my friends, is something to be thankful for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Etsy.com – Affordable MCM for EVERYONE

In retrospect to my last blog, (Vintique-New Favorite Destination) it wasn’t exactly fair to my readers who are not southern Californians. I’m not patting myself on the back here, but I have readers in Spain, Alaska and Ireland for goodness sake! Certainly people outside of my direct area would love to know where they can get affordable MCM stuff too! I would not like to be known as yet another egocentric American. For my loyal readers near and far, ’tis for you a lucky day indeed. Behold!  There is something called Etsy.com. Anything you can imagine wanting is on Etsy.com.  Generally and comparatively speaking, I find Etsy prices to be lower than that of Ebay’s. Etsy is the new black my MCM friends…so jump on the bandwagon and let’s go for a ride!

Did you say you wanted to refinish some crusty old chairs? Check out AtomicLivinVintage for amazing retro fabrics.
You need legendary Eames chairs in electric blue? Search Eames Chairs or lookup LustFoundVintage. You’re welcome. (These are NOT cheap, but if you’re a collector, I will assume you’ve got more means than I. Good for you.)
What’s that you say? You need to buy your favorite MCM blogger Franciscan Atomic Starburst Cream and Sugar Set for Christmas because you know she’d love them and know they’d match her pretty new plate? $30 dolla will make her holla! Check out TheCottageCheese.
Do you have boobs like Joan from Mad Men and really need a red-hot MCM dress to wrap them like presents for the upcoming holiday season? You’re in luck at VintageBeats. There ain’t no shame in your game….work it, girl. I’m jealous.
Do you have a best friend who knows Disney’s “We are Siamese if you please..” by heart? I know I do! Here’s vintage Siamese wall art for you crazy cat people. See Thrifitti. Like when hear baby cry, there be milk nearby. Enter MIDOBSESS at checkout and get a 10% discount for midcenturyobsession readers! Thanks, Thrifitti!

So do it! You know you want to. Do it. Do it. Do it. Go to Etsy.com and enter mid-century  _ whatever__. I can tell you….it will be there.