Sunday, February 28, 2010

Makes Me Want to Display Some Nuts!

I like nuts, but not enough to pour them in a dish and display them 24-7. Don't laugh- plenty of people do this.

Buuuuut, I came across this fabulous vintage, mid century nut bowl with tools this past Friday at an estate sale and guess made me want to display nuts.

This amazing wood is Myrtlewood, a rare wood found only in small sections of the Pacific Northwest. It looks like Teak, which is what originally caught my eye, along with the fabulous minimalist mid century design that I love.

Even though I love this piece and might regret letting it go later I have no spare space to display it at this time. I'm putting it up for sale in my Etsy shop so someone else can enjoy it.

What do you think? Pretty huh?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vintage Zenith Goddess

This very well could be my favorite vintage find on Etsy! Wow, it's so cool. I could never part with this beauty if I was Johnny Vintage (the lucky shop that is selling this television).

I came across this incredible Vintage Zenith Television - which is titled "Zenith Goodness" on Etsy...however, my mind read "Zenith Goddess" - no kidding. To me, it is so I'm sticking with it!

It's so vintage modern looking with it's blue casing and large round knobs, sitting atop an atomic style wire stand. The fabulous mid century designs never cease to amaze me. Imagine this sitting in your 1950's living room blazing a classic black and white film. Oh my....

As Johnny Vintage describes this lovely is not for real use - although it works. These old TV's work with tubes and they get way too hot to use continuously. Eventually they'd burn out. Plus, this little TV can't keep up with today's technology. It would look fantastic in a mid century setting just as decor.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Desk Restoration - Finished!

I finished restoration of my 1950's Mainline desk and I am so proud of it! Final product is pictured above. I'm now sitting at it as I type this! I'm amazed at how pieces can come back to life with a little (or sometimes, a lot..) of effort. Surprisingly this one wasn't too bad - I thought it would be worse.

I got so excited to start this project that I forgot to take a "before" shot. Stupid! But I did take one after it was stripped (below) The desk was covered in a brown shiny lacquer and had a lot of scratches, dents and chips. The hardware was faded and in general, the whole piece was pretty beat up.

Here was the process (if you want to try a restoration yourself):

1. Strip it:
Pieces from the 50's and 60's are very commonly covered in a lacquer or shellac. Test the finish to determine which it is. Shellac and lacquer are both clear finishes like lacquer but it's hard to tell which it is just by looking.

First apply Denatured Alcohol (available at Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.). If it liquifies it's shellac and you're good to go in wiping it off. If not, next try Lacquer Thinner (again available at any home improvement store). Let it sit for 5-10 seconds, then wipe with a clean cloth or steel wool. If the finish wipes off it's Lacquer.

Continue with the stripper you need to dissolve the finish. Fine Steel Wool works very well in removing finishes without damaging the wood. Make sure you get almost all of the finish off before moving to sanding.

2. Sand it:
Once your piece is stripped down to it's wood it's time for sanding. You can always smooth over your piece by hand but a sander makes life so much easier. There are really small, comfortable hand-held sanders for around $30 these days. If your piece has light marks in the wood use a fine sandpaper to lightly remove them. Start with a medium grade sand paper for deeper scratches and finish with a fine sandpaper.

Deep cuts might require a wood filler. There are many color options to choose from. If you plan to stain your piece dark, look for a filler that is close to the stain color or a light colored filler that takes stain. Always sand the filler down flush with the wood before staining it.

3. Prep the wood:
Once your piece is smooth you'll want to make sure there are no dust particles or pieces of dirt, etc. on the surface. Run over the wood with Tack Cloth (available at any home improvement store). Tack is a sticky cloth that will remove any surface residue.

Next, condition the wood. This is an important step that you should not skip. Apply a coat of Wood Conditioner (again, any home improvement store) prior to staining. It will sink into the wood and prepare it to absorb the stain more evenly for a beautiful color.

4. Stain and Seal:
Almost done - this is my favorite part because you see all the hard work you put into stripping and sanding pay off! Choose the stain of your choice. Apply according to directions. Always apply with the grain of the wood. I like to use staining pads for an easy, nice application. I always apply stain and then swoop off the residue with a clean cloth. You do not want extra stain sitting atop your wood. It won't absorb evenly. I like to do at least 2 coats. Apply as many coats as you like to get the desired color.

Once the color is achieved and your piece has dried completely, apply a sealer to protect the finish and give it a lovely sheen. There are many varieties of sealer to choose from. I like to use a semi gloss which gives it a very low sheen. I applied Polyurethane on my desk pictured. I did 2 coats to make sure all areas were covered and the wood was protected well. I use a very fine brush to apply my sealer and spend a lot of time to do it right. The last thing you want is to make it all the way to this last step then rush it and have streaks.

Voila - your piece is done! If you have hardware that needs cleaning use Brass-O or Silver Cleaners to buff them.

Last piece of advice: Wear gloves during any stripping and staining. While sanding wear a mask and goggles!

Feel free to write me with any questions about this process. I love to refinish and inspire others to try it!

Pictured below is the desk after I stripped it (and did one test run of sanding).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vintage Phones.

One of my favorite vintage things are old rotary phones. I love everything about them - the cool large shapes, the big chunky handles, the cords and most of all, the rotary dials! It takes you right back in time turning a number and watching it spin back. I always hope to come across a 1940's- 50's black classic but it hasn't happened yet. I did however come across a brown retro phone that is available in my shop (pictured above).

Here are some of my favorites from other stores in Etsy....

By Happy Day Vintage

By Spin Agin

By Robyn's Etsy

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Dreamed I necklace on this fabulous blog

Gay from was nice enough to choose my 1800's steam train necklace for a piece called "Faces Under Glass". Check out my necklace below in this photographic goods collage....

Congrats Gay, on a beautiful site! What is the site all about? " I Dreamed I Saw is a resource for DIY designers, artists, interior designers, obsessive nesters, and anyone in search of the most beautiful, strange and whimsical items available on the web. So meander through and ponder the astonishing work of your fellow man!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Is Not Ikea

My new favorite store and website for fabulous vintage finds. It was started in 2008 by Alexis Hadjopulos and Tom Whitman with an idea to "provide a place where cool, unique, and vintage furniture is available to people at an IKEA price." Let me tell you, TINI is way beyond cool and unique - everything they have is amazing! They find some truly spectacular pieces.

The website is stocked full of inventory and easy to peruse with everything categorized by type, style, era, color, room and more.

I'm obsessed with chairs so below is a snapshot I took of their chairs section....which happens to have 4 pages of chairs!

Check em' out:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rid Jid May 1961 Mid Century Chairs

I spotted these today and made a b-line straight for them. I think I would have knocked down anyone hovering over them.

Seriously though, I see something true mid century, 1960's, it's like fireworks go off around me. I must belong back in the 60's....

These are 2 great condition folding chairs for indoor or outdoor use. Made by Rid Jid, the J.R. Clark Company, Minnesota. They have original tags and are dated May 10, 1961.

Original vinyl is in excellent condition - no rips or marks. Can't believe it. As expected there are some chips to the paint, which I happen to love. I never want "perfect" vintage pieces.

Check out the gorgeous flowing curves. Another example of mid century's beautiful minimalism. Just posted these on my etsy shop.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cute Retro Prints and Vintage Talk at Apartment 528

Check out these cute retro-esque prints by

What a great store and blog about all things vintage. A girl after my own heart! She also sells adorable pillows, fun and modern home accessories, and fabulous clocks - oh the clocks are oh so cute!

Follow the blog to see fun vintage finds, cool etsy stores and decorating talk.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Craigslist = Mid Century Finds

I love scrolling through Craigslist to see what fabulous Mid Century pieces people are selling.....even though I have no space for anything else in my home.....I just like to look and drool.....and appreciate the fine design of the fabulous 50's and 60's

Check out these amazing Saarinen for Knoll red atomic chairs. Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1957. $395 for the set at Orange County, California.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hello Atomic Lovelies.....

Love these so much I don't know if I want to sell them. They're in my etsy store now but oh, I don't know......

Found these at a Mid Century ranch on the central coast of California and fell in love. How beautiful is the simple modern design? I love the armless curved seat and the chrome spider legs. So cool.

And of course they are in the perfect retro shades, orange and turquoise.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


.....check out this site with all vintage sewing patterns. I love it! Wish I could sew....something else on my to-do list!

Eames Inspired Rocking Chair for Momma

Ok, this is embarrassing; I'm not even pregnant yet but I'm already decorating the baby's room in my head. Actually, it's out of my head to be honest....I already have stored away some really fantastic vintage baby items for display in his/her room like a ceramic piggy bank, timmy the tiger pop up toy, wooden blocks and vintage baby books and prints.

Yes, I like planning ahead. Yes, I'm in love with all things vintage, mid century and design in general. is what I'm hoping to get to rock my little joy in when I have a baby. White or blue... I'm not decided yet.

There are so many available on Craig's List right now I kind of want to just do it. It would look cool in my house in the meantime anyway right? Come on, help me justify it!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wow. Antique Wheelchair!

How cool is this? I came across this at one of my favorite thrift stores on the Central Coast of California.

I wanted to buy it just because it's so unique and old. Then reality set in and I thought, "aaaand where would this go in my house"? Plus, I could only imagine the look on my husbands face. "Really? A wheelchair". I get away with a lot but I thought this might cross that fine line. Besides, I couldn't fit it in my car. Did you catch the real reason it didn't make it back to LA with me?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm in Love......

Oh my, look what I found in someone's home when I stopped by to purchase a lamp via Craigslist......

These are mint condition, mid century Danish lounge chairs like no other. I've always loved this low sitting lounge design and have two myself, but these are amazing and unique. The curved wood of this design is rare. I think this was the best era of furniture design. Anyone with me?

What was going to be a quick stop and shop turned into a "field trip" of unbelievable pieces that I could not buy, only covet. Uh, what torture. ..... a mint condition laurel lamp with mushroom shade, a sleek side chair with perfect peg legs and flawless vinyl seat, a credenza that was out of this world, a perfect set of nesting tables.... need I go on? The worst part? She didn't like any of it but kept it because everything belonged to her husband's mother.

And another photo of the chairs that makes my heartbeat fast.....

Monday, February 1, 2010

Popular Pig!

My brass colored wire piggy basket is so popular! He's been featured in 2 Etsy treasuries. I came across this little guy and had to have it. I tried to figure out a way I could use it in my already overflowing vintage office but at the end of the day I decided to sell him.

I love the detail of his body and face - little eyes are created with curves in the metal that also serve as ears. His little tail is so adorable!

So many uses - give him a good home in your vintage modern space. See him HERE


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