Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summertime and Drive-In Movies

Ahh, the heat has set in now for several months, and thoughts of summertime have played in my mind.

What memories do you have of summer?

I remember going to the Drive-In as a small girl in my parents white Chrysler Saratoga, complete with the big fins. It was a way to have fun and beat the heat from our atomic mid-century home which got hot in the summer.

The back dashboard (is that what you call it?) was so roomy, I could crawl up there and lay down.

There used to be a playground under the big screen with a push merry-go-round and animals you could ride on, mounted on big springs. We’d all rush to get there early enough to play and watch the cartoons before the double feature.

The speakers hung on the driver window, and sometimes we’d go to the snack bar and get popcorn and candy.

Usually we’d stop in at Walters five and dime and pick up candy bars before we went, my Dad being thrifty.

I often dozed off during the second feature, and fought with my brothers about who got to sit where in the car, but I was fortunate enough to have been able to enjoy this great American experience.


What are your memories?

Monday, June 29, 2009

More Atomic Ranch Progress

I snagged these wonderful heavy pink satin pillowcases for a song on eBay.

And once again, I see the lamps my folks used to have in their bedroom. I didn’t know this was actually a set of three. As I stated before, my parents had the two smaller ones, but in a green color, not turquoise.

Too “Asian” for the Master Bedroom, and the wrong color, and this seller wants far too much money for the trio, but it’s neat to see them again.

I hired a crew to come clear out the backyard this Thursday. A grand garden had been planted in the backyard, which is one of those sizeable back yards they allowed back in the 1950’s. It’s about 40’ x 75’. But alas, it’s overgrown and needs to be redone. I don’t mind the “wild” nature of it, but I’m afraid it’s a bit too wild.

My plan is to have as many popular plants of the era while keeping it sleek and trim as opposed to a more “country” garden. I once saw some amazing landscaping done using a lot of concrete and small beach rock. The less maintenance and more sleek the design, the more I like it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Mid-Century from eBay

Whoo hoo, another pair of fantastic, two-tier, fiberglass Eames machine age lamps! Photographed with two different bulb types, so they do match. The difference in light is from the different wattage bulbs.

And then I debated on this poster. The colors, according to the photo, seemed right. Very 1950’s, but when I won the auction and tried to pay for it, Paypal told me the seller was “unregistered.” I emailed the seller who gave me some double-talk about switching servers and he didn’t know why Paypal said he was “unregistered.”

But, and here’s the dig, he said “better to find out what shipping and insurance and all that will be anyways.”

Exact shipping was listed, insurance was optional. I’m not a newbie when it comes to eBay. I’ve been registered since 2001 and have a few different buying IDs and selling IDs. I’ve been a member of their community chat boards ever since I signed up, so I have heard all the stories that both buyers and sellers tell each other.

Meanwhile, before the auction I could find no comparables to double check the colors. And today I did.

Check the one I won:
Nice 1950’s colors, right?

Now look at the one photographed with better color and lighting.

It was advertised as a 1950’s print, but when I see the REAL colors, it’s clearly a 1980’s print. With a portion of the bottom cut off.

I’m the best buyer you could have, I always pay within seconds of the auction ending with no fuss. BUT, the colors were so badly misrepresented and not being registered at Paypal like all sellers are supposed to be, this will be the very first time in thousands of transactions I will pass on.

It’s been 5 days since the auction ended, and not another word from the seller anyways, so I believe there is something wrong with this deal. Maybe it didn’t sell for what he wanted, but regardless, his standing at Paypal is not valid.

By the way, sellers can no longer give buyers negative feedback. I’ve bought and sold thousands of items on eBay, this will be the very first time I let one pass.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

1950’s Retro Tiki, Pacific Islander, Asian

Bedroom number one is pink, frilly, girly and has all the old dolls and vintage baby crib, pastel handmade quilts and chippy, shabby wrought iron bed and everything feminine.

It’s my intention to turn the second bedroom into something a bit more masculine, and since my family had so much vintage Asian stuff, I put most of it in there. But I’m still not satisfied with it.


Mom’s Mom bought an oil painting of the coastline done back in the mid-50’s, and that would go with the Asian theme, but I’m still not happy with it. Nor would a “Beach” or “Tiki” theme really please me. Nor a cowboy/Indian/southwest, nor a Space theme, though of the group, that I like the most. I have considered all these choices carefully and still am unable to think of a theme that really pleases me.


Dad played in a Big Band, and I still have a few of his Congas, Bongos and smaller instruments (none of his drum sets, thought). So a “Ricky Ricardo Cuban” Big Band music room theme is a possibility.


But none really, really “grab” me.

The Asian/Pacific Islander” theme is not a bad one. But I’ll be darned if I simply cannot think of a great idea.

The master bedroom will also be pink and feminine with some machine age style to it, living room masculine with very “modern” 1950’s geometric styles and such, the kitchen will be some combination of pink and white or sage greens, and the bathrooms also pink and white as they always have been.

But what to do with bedroom number two?

Back to the original outside color of the house, it was always pink and a blue-turquoise, so I’m thinking of painting it a blue-green, pale teal color.

It will look great with the coastline oil painting and all the other things in there already, but I’m still not completely satisfied with it.

What do you do when you simply cannot decide?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

1950’s Phoenix Arizona Homes, Then and Now


I tried making this a clickable link, did all the right things, and it still doesn't seem to work, so you'll have to copy and paste. Sorry!

Vintage Machine Age Design Eames Lamps

I got my pair of pink machine age style lamps and I’m thrilled with them.

They are so lightweight; I may have to figure out some way to keep them a bit more secured from being tipped over so easily. They can’t weigh more than just a few ounces. And as I suspected, they look wonderful with a similar Art Deco machine age candlestick I have.

I also got the sweet tile plate.

The tile plate is wonderful, and reminds me of the similar tile things Mom had. I think we used to have sheets of small tile on what looked like netting or tulle, ready to lay down on a tabletop and grout in.

The back of the plate is more worn than the auction mentioned, actually it didn’t mention the back of the plate at all, but the front will be displayed. Tile colors are clean and wonderful.

And the mail arrived, and my two other black and gold lamps with the fiberglass and print lampshades arrived today!

I’m thrilled. I want to get that living room cleared out of all the things I had to pull in there in the first place in order to clear out the house of all extra “stuff” so I can get the floors done, walls painted, new curtains up and get these lamps displayed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Keep It Simple

I read this story in an ebay auction:

18 months ago, my husband and I purchased a neighbors home after she passed away. Our neighbor had lived in this home with her husband for 50 years and in that 50 years she had never thrown anything away. She was very sentimental and kept absolutely everything. Her husband passed away the year before she did. Her two boys had no children and lived out of state and were not interested in anything from the house and so they sold us the house as it sat, full of all her and her familys treasures. We had been remodeling our century old home for the last year and a half and were just about finished when we purchased the home. This home was full from the basement, first and second floors to the floored attic. There was literally just a path through every room. We packed everything away and put the house up for sale after fixing it up. Now that we are finished with that, I will be listing the treasures we found there along with all of our treasures. The experience of seeing my neighbors house so full because she collected and treasured everything for all her life made me realize that my house could someday look the same if I just keep collecting as I have and if I dont let anything go. It was so sad that no one in her family wanted her things. It made me wonder what our family would do with all of what we treasure. So, my husband and I are slowly and reluctantly parting with our favorite treasures and our newly aquired ones. We already had our basement and a storage building full when we aquired the new house and now we have a second building full from that. Over the next few months, I will be listing daily so be sure to check back often. I will be listing wonderful vintage and antique items from my collection,beautiful silver and vintage toys and almost anything you can immagine. I am sure you will find something you love also.

This is why I have passed up so many eBay auctions. I don’t want a house full of “stuff”, even wonderful “stuff.”

The more you simplify your life, the better it feels. We have so many things to distract ourselves with now. The reason we yearn for another era is because it WAS simpler times in many respects.


The mass consumerism we see now did start after the War and has gained momentum ever since.

Simplify your life, and keep your treasures to a minimum, and be sure to enjoy what you do have. Don’t keep it packed away for “some day.”


So no matter if all your special treasures are sold or passed down through generations, live with as much joy and simplicity as you can today.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vintage Wilendur Roses Tablecloths

Some of the most beautiful vintage mid-century tablecloths are made by Wilendur. From the Weil and Durrse Company. In 1958 Weil & Durrse added an "e" at the end of Wilendur.

I came upon my first Wilendur at a thrift shop about 15 years ago.


Even though mine had a few stains on it, I was struck by the weight of the material which was like sail cloth, and the beauty of the design.


Still plentiful today, you can find these for sale all the time on eBay for a very good price. About $10-$20 on average.


I suspect because of the current popularity of pink as a dominant color, these remain plentiful, but don’t let your mid-century home be caught without at least a few of these amazing beauties.

Because of the heavy weight of the material, you can use any stained or damaged one’s for any number of projects. CafĂ© curtains, pillows and chair covers to name just a few.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

1950’s Mid-Century Eames Lamps

Bought a couple more mid-century Eames style lamps.

The pink pair will go in the Master bedroom, and they match a brass Art Deco machine age style candlestick I bought about 8 years ago.

The red glass lamp was so cheap I couldn’t pass it by. It goes with that disaster of a lamp I bought back in November, and hints a bit too much at 1960’s style, which I prefer not to have. But, it was less than $10 and resembles the plastic one’s I have seen.

This set of four atomic TV trays sold for an amazing $22. Wow, what a deal. But alas, I already have one in black with blue paint, so I couldn’t justify buying another set of four. It’s so difficult sometimes to turn things down, isn’t it? But I want to maintain a very streamline look overall, so that means passing up some great items and great deals.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Revolutionary Road


I watched this movie again yesterday for a second time, and wow, what a fantastic film. It touches on the discussion of whether or not people were really happy with the “conformist” kind of lifestyle encouraged in the mid-50’s. Where all the men wore suits and hats and went off to work while the women all stayed home and were Mom’s and housewives.

My own Mom said she didn’t like the little “coffee klatches” the neighbor women would have, because the women were really quite mean-spirited. And because she didn’t participate, the women literally turned their backs on her and gossiped even worse about her.

Right after she got married in ’47 the other women in the office (she continued to work after the War because my Dad needed her to) all were having children and as badly as Mom wanted kids, we didn’t come along until 12+ years later. But because she didn’t have kids to talk about the other women tended to shun her.

Mom was a wonderful, friendly intelligent person, and she admits discussions about curtain colors and baby crib designs did tend to bore her a bit, but she tried to “fit in.”

There is a notion that past eras were somehow “all wonderful.” You know, a gentler time when life was simpler and people seemed happier.

It’s all relative.

I once read a Los Angeles newspaper article printed in the late 40’s-early 50’s about how “much better” life was a generation prior to that. A woman in perhaps her 60’s waxed nostalgic about the early days in L.A. when you could cross the street without worrying about getting hit by a car, how many open lots there were to play in as kids, things like that. I have the article somewhere and when I find it, I will post it.

It’ll open your eyes to, to the notion of “simpler times” all being relative.

Meanwhile, the mid-century set design for Revolutionary Road was fantastic. I watch a lot of movies for that very reason.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

1950’s Assessment

I’ve finally reached that point where I can start pulling out all of the vintage things I have, and see what I have, what I need and what I can pack away.

This is the part I have been waiting for!

Oh, I still have a lot to do in terms of “grunt work”. Namely painting walls, and having floors refinished or redone.

But I felt I needed to “reward” myself and allow myself to “play.”

I brought in much of my vintage collection from the Studio shelves (covered in a fine black soot-like dust from the crappy a/c I had blowing in the Studio the past couple years, and despite the shelves being covered with curtains, this soot seems to have worked it’s way into everything out here).

I’ve discovered, there really is very little I “need” to buy. I have so many wonderful things, and not too many of them (except my collection of small chrome kitchen appliances).

I have enough linens for several of the curtains I’m going to put up in the smaller bedrooms. Lots of vanity and make-up items. Purses, gloves and glove box, hats, handkerchiefs, panty hose, hand towels, aprons, jewelry, knickknacks, photos, ashtrays, vases, planters… Hamper, tablecloths, shoe rack, furniture, theme decorations, holiday… Gosh you name it, I have it.

The only things I’ve been looking at on eBay lately are just a few select lamps. Oh and I snagged a kitchen timer with a fantastic rocket-shaped handle, mosaic tile plate (because we used to have similar), a few airline tags for my vintage, luggage label-covered vintage suitcases and maybe another boomerang shaped ashtray.

Latest additions:

So similar to a pair of lamps I bought a few monthe ago (see pics on prior pages here).

Sweet tile plate like Mom used to have.

Don't you just love the rocket-shaped dial handle here? Got this for a song. Just a few dollars.

The living room will be last to get set up, so I’m not sure if I have too much stuff for it or not.

I got out my vintage quilts yesterday too. Gosh I love those.
One is a 20’s-30’s crazy quilt, a log cabin or star-step quilt (forget what the pattern is called) and a couple sweet simple very 1940’s-1950’s cotton square quilts.

The two first one’s are silk, and the material is “shattering” in many places. Does anyone have any ideas about what to do about this?

You can’t really “use” them as quilts because any pressure on them creates more shattering. But I love looking at the different patterns of material they used for the quilts.

Cutting it up into pillows will still shatter the material if they are used.

I’ve thought of sewing some fine netting over it. But that won’t prevent more shattering.