Monday, September 26, 2011

Thrift Score Monday: Pan Am Style

I was SO excited for the premiere of the new ABC series Pan Am last night, and it didn't disappoint. The storyline was actually more engrossing than I expected, and the acting and characters were top notch. I was watching, however, for the 60s era sets and costumes. Most of the scenes in the first episode took place in public areas (airports, airplanes) as you might expect, but there were a few residential shots that had a great, authentic 60s vibe. Most of all, I loved the Pan Am stewardess uniforms! They were so chic in their bright blue with their matching caps, and their Pan Am carryon bags were to die for.

I'm one of those people who still dresses up to fly. I wish stewardesses (not flight attendants) still offered martinis in real glasses to passengers even before takeoff. I loved the circular lounge sofas on the "clipper" jet in episode 1. I can already tell I'll be back for more next week!

For Thrift Score Monday, I want to share a couple of "Pan Am" inspired pieces I found recently. The first, a mossy green carry-on bag, I found several weeks ago in a neighborhood thrift shop. It's in pristine condition, even the interior. I'm awfully tempted to keep this one, but in the interest of keeping my home as clutter free (ha!) as possible, I'll be listing it soon in the shop:

Next up, on Friday after work I stopped at another thrift store and found this cute set of matching luggage:

I love the charcoal grey color and I can't think of anything more 60s mod than a circular suitcase! And train cases are always so glam (and useful!), don't you think?  These make me want to slap on my flight attendant (er...stewardess) outfit and saunter through JFK.  How about you? I think either (or both) of these pieces would also be fabulous as decorative storage in a guest room.

I'm linking up here to check out other great vintage and thrifted scores in the blogosphere!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Weighty Topic

Lately I've been a tad obsessed with blown glass paperweights. It all started about a year ago, when my boss gave me one as a gift. It's clear with sage green, very organic looking, and signed on the bottom by the artist. Naturally, I thought it was a silly gift. I didn't appreciate it. I wondered how long I'd have to keep it around before I could hide it away.

Slowly, I grew to understand how useful it could be. I had a stack of papers on a corner of my desk. I grabbed it without thinking to hold them. It did its job beautifully! More importantly, however, it was just lovely. The light would catch it at certain times of the day and make me appreciate that it was truly a piece of art glass. It added a touch of class to my desk. Useful AND beautiful...right up my alley.

Since then, I've discovered the world of vintage blown glass paperweights. There's a whole collecting niche devoted to them, and many were made right in my backyard, here in Indiana or next door in Ohio. I'm featuring a couple of gorgeous examples in the shop right now:

This yellow flowered one was made in Ohio in the 1980s.

The gorgeous red, white and blue example dates from the 1950s. The previous owner told me that his mother purchased it on a family trip to the House of Glass studios in Elwood, Indiana. This place is still run today by the same family, and it's only 45 minutes from my house. I think a visit might be in order!

I'd love to own one (or two) clear glass orbs. I think they have so much potential as decorative objects, beyond just holding down papers. There was a gorgeous vignette featured here in this month's TradHome.

Meanwhile, here's the grey-green paperweight that started my obsession:

Can you believe I didn't appreciate it at first?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thrift Score Monday: Très Chic

Trays are so handy. I've used them on an ottoman to corral remote controls and magazines; on a dresser top to hold perfume bottles, jewelry and tchotckes; and on a kitchen counter to catch mail and bills.  One of my favorite uses is to stylishly cover up a worn or less-than-pristine spot on a piece of wood furniture--no refinishing required!

I've found a bounty of decorative trays on my thrifting trips over the last couple of weeks. All kinds, all sizes, all shapes. I don't know if they've just been magically appearing for me, or if I'm noticing them more than usual, but regardless of the reason I've been really, really lucky lately. Here's a sampling:

 This elegant enameled tray by Kyes has the prettiest Asian-inspired handles. Very Hollywood Regency.

Next, this chic crystal tray (or very large, flat cake plate?). I love the heavy weight and the frosted art deco handles. It would be lovely holding barware and decanters.

I was also intrigued by these vintage acrylic trays that I snapped up for next-to-nothing at a tag sale.

The first one's very 60s mod; the second is more traditional. They really look like glass up close. How perfect would they be for serving drinks poolside?

With the current craze for all things Hollywood Regency, both brass and bamboo are super hot. So, I was thrilled to find this gorgeous brass tray rimmed in faux bamboo. The soft patina  gives it character, and it's the perfect size to serve as a repository for keys and a cell phone on an entryway table.

And here's another brass beauty with a faux bamboo railing:
It's a small size -- only about 8 inches wide -- and would be perfect for holding perfume bottles on a dresser, or even as a glam wine coaster. It's currently available in the shop!

This mid-century chrome tray has wooden handles with an art deco vibe:

It will be perfect for serving hors d'oeuvres at a cocktail party.

Finally, I was thrilled to find this fun aluminum tray in a springy green with a sawtoothed edge:

Perfect for serving lemonade or iced tea on the deck! 

All of these great finds will make their way to the shop in the coming weeks, since I already have quite the collection of trays at home. Très chic, n'est-ce pas?  

I'm linking up here to find out what everyone else unearthed this week:

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Secondhand Swoon

I haven't browsed Craigslist for vintage furniture pieces for a while, and I was pleasantly surprised today by all the vintage treasures I found. Once again, it was all about seating! 

First, this cute mid-century chair and ottoman set, only $150 for both pieces:

I think that orangey salmon color would look amazing in a room with turqoise and white.

Next, this cool mid-century setteé:

The owner says that it's airport seating from the 1950s, and the set can be configured in a "L" (as pictured) or in a straight line. I think this set would look great in a large, modern foyer or as bench seating in an eat-in kitchen.

I also spotted this set of antique wrought iron chairs. The seller is asking only $15, and is including the recovered cushions!

This is an absolute steal; these ornate, vintage wrought iron pieces are getting harder and harder to find, and are often sold at a premium price.

Next up, a super chic set of vintage bar stools:

This pair looks to be in great condition and they have amazing mid-century modern lines. Only $150 for the pair.

I couldn't resist sharing this set of vintage dining chairs:

They're so "Mad Men" cool, and only $100 for the entire set!

Last but not least, I'm enamored of this authentic mid-century sectional sofa. It's been completely reupholstered and looks to be in amazing condition:

It's listed for $2,000, which is pricy but still probably less that you'd pay for a reproduction sofa of this style, and the originals are usually of higher quality.

{All images via Indianapolis Craigslist.}

Once again, I'm amazed by the awesome bargains to be had on Craigslist and through other secondhand sources, vintage or not! I may never pay retail again. . .

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's the Little Things...

Don't get me wrong....big, expensive, gorgeous, significant things make me happy. A Jonathan Adler chandelier? Yum. A sofa from the Barbara Barry collection for Baker? Joy incarnate. But little things can make me just (well...almost) as happy!  Case in point:  I was visiting my parents recently when I noticed the cutest tissue box in their guest room. And I don't mean "tissue box" in the sense of a permanent, decorative accessory that covers the ugly cardboard tissue box from the store--I mean the cardboard one itself. It was the prettiest spring green shade covered in a faux-Imperial Trellis pattern. My mom informed me that she had purchased it at Meijer. (For you non-Midwesterners, Meijer is a discount chain akin to Walmart or Target.) 

Being me, I considered this a perfectly justifiable reason to drop everything and rush to Meijer, where I found these exact tissues not only in spring green, but also in burnt orange and teal!  Let's just say that I bought enough of all three colors to last me a FEW cold-and-flu seasons. They were even the store brand, so they cost next to nothing!  Here they are:

Aren't they pretty? For the first time in years, I stowed away my chic stainless steel tissue box cover and went with the naked cardboard box in both of my bathrooms--and my office! (I live on the edge.)

If you live in Meijer country, I suggest you pick some up before they're gone!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Thrift Score Monday

It was a quiet weekend; I had a cold, plus the anniversary of 9-11 lent a bit of a somber edge. Nonetheless, I wanted to take advantage of what might be one of the last summery weekends of the year to visit a few tag sales. I made a few nice finds:

This sunny yellow Hall China teapot is in mint condition and included its original felt-lined aluminum warming jacket. I love the art deco lines of its lid and the swoopy handle.

Then, there was this coral-colored casserole or {huge} soup tureen. It's large enough to hold a Thanksgiving's worth of mashed potatoes, and it's in mint condition.  The mark on the bottom looks like "D.L. MOS," but it's hard to decipher.

I'm guessing both pieces date from the 40s or 50s, based on the styles and colors. I love the happy tones of dish- and kitchenware from this era. These pieces would both look great with Fiestaware, Riviera, or many other vintage patterns. And finding them put a little cheer back into my weekend!

Linking with the following to see what others discovered over the weekend!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Let There Be Light!

I'm kind of scared of electricity. In third grade, my class took a trip to a dairy farm. For some crazy reason, we were allowed to roam, unsupervised, in a pasture with an electric fence running down one side (before the days of liability insurance and negligence lawsuits, apparently!). One of the boys (it was always the boys' fault. . .) told us that if we stood in a long line, one behind the other, touching the person in front of us, and if the boy in the very front touched the electric fence, we would all feel the jolt. Uh huh. Let's just say that it didn't end well. Ouch.

So ANYWAY, I'm kind of afraid of stuff involving wiring. I've always had lamps professionally rewired when they needed it. I keep reading on DIY blogs, though, about how easy it is. How it takes 10 minutes, MAX. How any dummy can do it. So...I thought I'd try.

Here's our case study, a lamp I picked up for a pittance at a yard sale a few weeks ago:

The shade was ripped, scary, and dotted with mildew, so everyone else had passed it by. I couldn't understand how no one had noticed the gorgeous urn base and the beautiful deep teal color! 

 I mean, yes, it had the world's largest crooked harp, the socket was corroded, the cord was a little "crispy"...but that didn't stop me. I was determined to save this pretty old gal. (I decided it's a female. Totally a girly lamp, right?)  I didn't even try to turn it on when I got it home. Too afraid--refer to electric fence story above.

Instead, I headed to the home improvement store, where I picked up a replacement socket, cord, and a human-scale harp for about $14.00.  I decided to work on the rewiring at my parents' house over the holiday weekend, just in case something exploded/caught fire/emitted sparks and I needed backup. And so I'd burn THEIR house down, instead of my own. (Shhhhh! Did I say that out loud?)

I looked at about 17 sets of rewiring instructions online, all of which appeared to entail the same steps, and all of which contradicted the weird, translated-from-Chinese instructions in the socket and cord packages from the home improvement store.  I decided to just dive in.

Step 1:  Unscrew the World's Largest Rusty Harp and loosen the old socket. There was something in all the instructions about testing the soundness of the old socket and cord before replacing them completely. Since I was pretty sure the old wiring was an electrocution waiting to happen, I instead yanked it out, cut the old cord with some very high-tech kitchen shears, and spent about 30 minutes cleaning years of grime, rust, and stickiness of unknown origins off the lamp base.

Step 2:  Go get my father.  Did I mention he's an electrical engineer?  Now the plan becomes clear, right??  (I never claimed this was a how-to post!) He had that baby wired up in about 5 minutes. The cool thing about my dad is that when he comes to help, tools just magically appear. See that orange-handled thingamajig in the background, next to the screwdriver? Apparently that's a wire cutter/stripper. It just appeared along with him. Awesome.

Anyhow, here's the lamp with her shiny new, non-scary socket all installed:

When the time came to plug it in and test it, I may or may not have squealed and run into another room as my dad plugged it in. My dad, on the other hand, fearlessly tests things by touching them with his finger. [Disclaimer: DON'T DO THIS. Did you READ the dairy farm story?] Maybe it's some kind of electrical engineer bravado, but he just tapped that socket with his bare hand. I had a small heart attack from my vantagepoint in the neighboring room.

OF COURSE it worked beautifully--he's an electrical engineer, after all! I'm just a freak. Being shocked by an electric fence in 3rd grade will do that to you.

I was soooo pleased with myself, it was almost as if I had actually accomplished this DIY on my own.  In all seriousness, though, my dad explained things to me step-by-step, so I may  work up the courage to try it on my own next time. Or maybe "on my own," but at his house. Just in case.

I didn't love the black plastic knob on the socket, but I had an epiphany that I could shine up the old [very tarnished] brass knob from the original socket set and substitute it for the plastic one.

Worked great! Same story for the original finial from the ginormous harp. Both now look shiny and new. (Oops, I didn't get the finial in this photo, but you'll see it below.) I really think the brass knob adds a little something--don't you?

Here's the final product, with a pretty, modern, non-mildewed shade:

Isn't she a beaut?  I'm pretty pleased. The moral of the story? Rewiring a lamp really is a DIY-able project, especially if you're not crippled by fears of being electrocuted. And FYI: everyone thinks it's so handy to have doctors and lawyers in the family. But electrical engineers? Can't beat em! 

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