My Vintage Family

Friday Crafternoon: A little inspiration for your weekend!

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I love all kinds of paper crafting, but I just never have gotten into the scrapbook world. For one thing, I don’t take a lot of pictures of people. I wasn’t sure what the subject of my scrapbooking could be since I am lacking in that key element.

It wasn’t until recently that I began to put some pieces together in my mind. As I have talked about before, I love searching for interesting vintage photos to use in cards and shadowboxes. Old photos just seem to inspire me more than anything I take myself.

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I suddenly remembered two large boxes of old photo albums that my father and I had acquired years ago, after helping my Grandmother clean house before she moved. How could I have forgotten about those? Here I was, sitting on a goldmine of fabulous old photos, of people I was actually related to! Sometimes an idea is so obvious that you just miss it. So I picked them up from my parents house and began the task of sorting through and making copies.

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I am just in the beginning stages, but I really love it! And I feel a sense of accomplishment that I am preserving history and resurrecting these previously forgotten family moments. Even though my Grandmother went through these albums with us a bit before she gave them to us, I have already forgotten the the context for the many unlabeled photos. The feeling of responsibility to document all of these things for fear of loosing the information forever had loomed over me and seemed daunting. I am excited to have found a way tackle the project one step at a time and put my own creative spin on it. Now I weave my own handiwork into the tapestry of my family history, where the present meets the past and takes the form of something that I can pass on to future generations.

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I do plan to try to be better about taking my own photos to use, and I’m certainly not abandoning my fascination with old photos of strangers! This is just a way for me to branch out, putting my own spin on things as I go. It is so important to find your own style and forge a path for yourself. Don’t worry about making work that fits the mold of what “everybody else is doing” because that isn’t creativity. Our differences are what makes it unique! If you’re hesitant to try something because it isn’t your style, then I encourage you to find a way to¬†make it your own. You just might like the results!

Are you a scrapbooker? What¬†photos inspire you to create? I’d love to hear from you!

My Holiday Home 2015

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If you read my Holiday 2014 post, you will probably recognize a lot of the same decor, but my collection has grown a bit over the year and I was very excited to add some new things! I will keep this post heavy on the photos, and light on the words as it is really about the eye candy anyway.

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I always put my white dove in the tree. It is the only non glass ornament on the tree, and I think it adds something special to it.

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There is an endless variety when it comes to vintage ornaments. So many unique colors, illustrations, shapes, sizes and textures.

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Here’s a secret: this gold bell is the only one that isn’t vintage. It was a wedding gift from my Aunt. I love the symbolism and it fits in very well with the rest of the tree.

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There is clearly a lot going on in this tree, but when you step back it all looks very uniform and polished. I love how they come together. Of course, I have far too many in my collection to put on the tree, so I have to find other ways of showing them off.

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Some of them don’t even come out of the box because they look so nice all together.

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I even sneak some of the ornaments into the kitchen.

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The Kennedys were feeling festive this year too.

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Here we are on Christmas day! Happy Holidays Everyone!

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Kitchen Refresh

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This is a project I have wanted to tackle since we moved in, but it just seemed too overwhelming. I invite you to take a look back at my previous kitchen post to refresh your memory of how it looked. I thought that everything needed to be changed, and it would all be a domino affect resulting in a gutted kitchen and far too many $$ dollar signs. Then I thought maybe I should try to just paint it, but couldn’t decide on and commit to a color. Plus, I just wasn’t happy with the cabinets, but the daunting task of painting them was a prospect that kept me shying away from the project all together.

As the 2015 New Year holiday approached I was suddenly struck with motivation. The notion¬†of a “fresh start” was at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and I decided that it was time to make a change. I wanted a clean slate for the kitchen, so I decided to go with white. Fresh white ceiling, clean white walls, crisp white trim. I enlisted the help of a few of my amazing friends and family to devote one day¬†of their long holiday¬†weekend to a major workout in my kitchen. It was not an easy job, but we managed to get about 75% of it done. That last 25% stretched out over the coming week or so, specifically the ceiling and the trim. This is the part where having an unbelievable patient and tolerant husband became my biggest asset. This project was my crazy, spur-of-the-moment idea that I dragged him into and now our kitchen was a mess of rags, rollers, and plastic sheets, not to mention all the furniture pushed to the center of the room. Yes, the home stretch was the toughest part of the painting journey, but every step of the way none of us could seem to stop exclaiming “this looks so much better!” The work was worth it, and the result was a better than expected transformation.

Never underestimate what painting the walls can do for a room. I feared that the bright white paint could end up accentuating other areas in need of an update, but it did just the opposite! Suddenly the cabinets seemed less dark and dingy, the counter seemed newer, and the overall yellow haze that had saturated the room was lifted. Everything just looks cleaner.

(Let me make¬†a side-note here to talk a little bit about painting prep and equipment. First of all, choosing a white paint is hard. I would say it is harder than picking out any other color of paint, so be prepared and set aside¬†time. The other big learning curve for this project came from my bright idea to try out a painting tool I had never used called the HomeRight EZ Twist Paint Stick. This is basically a roller attached to a pole which holds the paint inside of it to dispense as you go, eliminating the need for a tray and designed to cut down your painting time. I thought it would be particularly helpful to use on the ceiling.¬†I read reviews. I watched videos. It turned out to be a bad choice for this project, and here is why; I am only 5’1″, my ceiling is 8′. Though I could easily reach the ceiling with the length of the pole, my center of gravity was still too low for me to get the leverage I¬†needed to accurately push the roller to evenly dispense the paint, plus, the added weight of the paint filled tube tired my arms out too quickly. If you are of a more average height and have good upper body strength, this tool might actually be helpful, but it is still a lot of extra work to clean up. In my opinion, just stay away from fancy gadgets and stick with the classic equipment. )

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So, now you are wondering, if I painted the kitchen in January, why am I just now showcasing it here? While I often set my mind to large projects and tackle them in a timely manner it is often those little details that I get hung up on that tend to drag things out. Even since I took photos there are a few little things I have tweaked or am in the process of fixing but for goodness sake, it is May already! I just had to stop making excuses.

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We added cabinet hardware where there was none before. A very subtle change that, in my opinion, makes a huge difference in functionality on a daily basis. We chose chrome pulls that were salvaged from a 1950s kitchen, which turned out to be another challenge because they did not match up with standard size drilling template we bought. It just made for more hardware store trips, marking, measuring, and margin for error on our part. Once again, a project that dragged out for too long, but sometimes you have to go the extra mile to get those details just right.

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I have to laugh when I think about the cycle of changes this house has undergone. It was built in 1961 (my favorite style era) then everything was updated in the mid 1980s (my least favorite style era.) So here I am, scavenging and dragging back in all of these mid century relics to furnish my home more like a home would have been back then which the previous owner clearly tried so hard to more away from. But, this is the story for so many homes isn’t it? You can’t anticipate what the next owner will appreciate; you just have to make it right for you.

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And here we have the holy grail. My Jadeite collection is the crown jewel of my kitchen. It is sprinkled all around the room, but the highest concentration of it resides safely nestled in my sturdy china hutch, which we inherited from Chris’ grandmother.

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¬†I¬†have a healthy mix of¬†old and new pieces, mostly old, which blend together quite well. I like having a variety of shapes and textures.¬†The older pieces are definitely the most fun to find, because they have a history to them. The two swirl bowls in the upper left belonged to my grandparents. My mother grew up with them, I grew up with them, and now my grandmother passed them on to me so that I can continue to use them in my home. The smaller batter bowl on the bottom right (filled with corks) was a gift from Chris’ Father and his wife, who¬†love to¬†contribute to my collection. This piece in particular belonged to her grandmother.

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I keep a lot of other kitchen kitsch in amongst the Jadeite to add some color. One of my main goals during the kitchen refresh was to clear out a lot of my collection and adhere more strictly to a specific color palette of white, green and red with some yellow. I’ve been pretty good at sticking to it (with the one exception of the turquoise section above the cabinets. I just couldn’t resist!) My favorite motifs to add in are gingham and cherries. Both compliment the Jadeite well and are just so adorable!

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I have a fixation with pitchers, especially glass ones.  There just seem to be so many well designed ones out there, they become an art piece.

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 I think than any object can be an art piece if you showcase it the right way.

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And I love my little apron nook. The diner sign really completes this spot. (No, it isn’t actual¬†neon, just plastic.) It was left hanging in the kitchen of a home my friend bought, and she gifted it to me!

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My sweet little shelf has a much bolder impact now that I thinned my collection to feature some repeating objects.

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I thought it would be fun to add some string lights to the top of the cabinets for a little evening mood lighting. The glassware really catches the light and casts some interesting shadows.

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And for those wondering about how difficult it is to keep an all white kitchen clean, I think it is much easier. Now I notice dirty areas right away, and spots wash off the walls without much scrubbing.

What a relief it is to check off yet another large home improvement project. I hope you enjoyed seeing the transformation as much as we have!

My Holiday Home 2014

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I love to decorate, but decorating for Christmas is by far my favorite. Each year I find myself eager for Halloween to be over so that the store shelves can begin their glittery transformation into holiday wonderland. I was especially excited for this year because we decided to splurge a bit on a brand new artificial tree. After a few years of struggling with our other tree, which turned out to be a bit of a dud from the start, I was finally ready to throw in the towel. I didn’t even take pictures of the tree for last year’s post because I was so disappointed with how it looked. I set my sights on a champagne colored tree, though I was skeptical that my husband¬†would share my vision for such a sparkly and non-traditional tree. To my surprise he liked the idea. We have a small, fairly dark living room and a large dark green object made it feel smaller. We hoped that maybe a champagne tree would brighten things up a bit, and by golly it does just that!

 

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I try to keep the holiday decor¬†contained to two zones: kitchen and living room, just to make it easier on myself (and those living here!) Let’s start with the living room. The wreath that I made last year has survived it’s first year of storage. (Whew!) This is probably my hardest piece to store because of the shape¬†and extremely delicate nature of it. A few pieces did pop off, but I wasn’t quite finished filling in all the gaps with tiny ornaments after last year, so I just re-glued all the loose bits as¬†I finished it up. Now it is nice and full.

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Mr. Rabbit has donned his festive chapeau once again.

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Kitschy holiday knick-knacks abound everywhere you look.

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But the star of the show is the tree. I am just over the moon about it! My collection of vintage blown glass ornaments looks absolutely perfect among the shiny tinsel branches, and the tree itself even looks vintage. I did consider getting an actual vintage aluminum tree, but it is much harder to find the size and shape you want, and many of them cannot be strung with lights.

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I find myself not wanting to leave the room at night to go to bed. I just want to stay curled up on the sofa staring at the beautiful glowing tree and basking in my own little Christmas wonderland.

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Ahhh… Now, onto the kitchen!

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One advantage of having a mostly red and green kitchen year-round is that it easily transforms into a Christmas themed kitchen!

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Once again, kitschy knick-knacks abound.

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Even the top of the refrigerator is festive.

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I’d like to give a special thanks to June, the amazing photo-boming dog, for once again inserting herself into the scene.¬†Where will she show up next? Who knows!

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Thanks for stopping by for another little peek into my life. Happy Holidays!

The Living Room: Take Two

It has been a year to the day since I began blogging a tour of my 1961 ranch house. As I sat down to type this I realized that my first new home post, entitled¬†Where I’ve Been,¬†was dated June 27, which is just a huge coincidence. I had intended to do this update post¬†months ago, but our lighting project was delayed. When I began chronicling the tour, we had only been living here about 6 months. Now, with a year and a half gone not only are¬†we more settled in, but we have also continued to make changes, and upgrade some of our old hodgepodge of furniture to pieces that really suit our taste and the style of our home. I am extremely proud to own a mid century home, though it is nothing fancy architecturally speaking. I love all things mid century, and it is my goal to try to honor my home’s history by reuniting it with pieces from that era, while also mixing in the present day. While many little things have shifted and changed throughout our home, the most impressive transformation to me is the living room.

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I love this space. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I have been giddy over my new sputnik chandelier. It was a birthday gift from my husband back in March, but we hit some snags getting an electrician to come run the wiring we needed. As is common with homes of its age, most rooms in our house did not have ceiling fixtures wired in, but instead there were switches that ran to an outlet. Very inconvenient, and there is only so much you can do with lamps, really. Now, every room on the first floor has a ceiling light!

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I have been looking for a vintage sputnik fixture for about a decade, but it is a hard search. There is almost always one on Ebay, but the bidding escalates quickly. If you can find one cheap, it usually needs a lot of work including new wiring. Reproductions and modern versions of the fixture have become a lot more common, but most of them are large and my living room is pretty small. Finally I happened upon a wonderful Etsy seller, Starlight Lighting. They make sputnik lights in many styles and sizes, and they are extremely authentic. I was able to find one that is the perfect size for the space, and the brushed finish makes it look like an antique. Such a perfect fit, you would swear it had been there since the house was built.

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We mounted the flatscreen to the wall, which has made for much more comfortable viewing, and opens up the room. While I would love to not have¬†any wires showing, I just don’t like the idea of cutting holes in the middle of my walls. The Brasilia bar cart is well suited for the spot beneath the television. Because the cart is long, it helps to minimize the appearance of the TV, so it doesn’t dominate the room. We keep most of our DVDs in binder, so the small cabinet is plenty of storage for our media needs. This piece¬†is one of my most exciting finds. Not long after moving in we were out walking the dog and I spotted a piece of furniture on¬†the curb. I always have to take a closer look at any roadside furniture, but even from a distance I could see the distinct Brasilia pattern and rushed down the street to scoop it up. Looking around the room, many of our treasured pieces are in fact cast offs, hand-me-downs, or gifts.

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Our record player was handed down to Chris from a family friend when he was in college. The outside needs some refinishing, but it plays perfectly, and is one of my favorite pieces of furniture we own. Our coffee table was made by my great grandfather. The coolest feature is that he made two sets of legs, so it easily transitions between coffee table and card table.

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The two tier blonde side table hiding by the door was another curbside pick. My blue and amber viking glass vases were freebie cast offs as well. My gorgeous Eames shell rocking chair was a Christmas gift from my parents. I am proud to say that she bought it at Goodwill for only $20!

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If you like to decorate with funky and eclectic pieces like I do, but are having trouble making the room seem unified, here is a little tip. Focus on one detail that you can spread throughout the space. It could be a color, or a textile, or even a small collection. Until recently, I did not intentionally incorporate gold or bras into my decor, but now I am embracing it. Many of my mid century pieces have gold hardware, so I decided to add a few more gold details to bring out that color and tie everything together. It is very subtle, but you can see if you look closely. The Brasilia hardware, the record player hardware, even the feet on my two tier table are all brass/gold so I incorporated gold finials for our curtain rod, this planter, and of course, the beautiful sputnik.

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Comfy, cozy, and just our style. This room makes me so happy! (June doesn’t seem to have any complaints either.)

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Mini Makeovers, with Plants!

I am not extremely gifted in the agriculture department, but I wanted to give it a go with some fun plants in the living room. They really do complete the look, and of course improving the air quality is a bonus! A couple months ago¬†I was looking for something to¬†hold a sansevieria¬†(“snake plant”) and of course I wanted¬†a mid century feel. I came across this beautiful project on Pinterest using an Ikea pot and some spray paint:

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My birthday had just passed and I had received a Visa gift card, so once again I was able to complete a fun little project without dipping much into my own pocket. The Pinterest link only led me to this photo and the name of the Ikea pot,¬†CASHEWN√ĖT. The top and bottom of the pot separate, and you can style it two ways simply by turning the bottom part over. Since the bottom pan is not very big, one of the miniature sized spray paint cans was more than enough to cover the piece. And voil√†!¬†A fabulous planter!

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When I purchased my super cool¬†metal cart, I also picked up a¬†mid century plastic plant pot for a mere 50¬Ę. The burnt orange color was not bad, just not a color used in my current decorating palette. (Please don’t hate me for painting it!) I thought the geometric design was stunning, and would pop even more in white. Now that it is finished, it reminds me of the Disneyland building that houses¬†It’s A Small World.

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I already had paint left over from another project, so the most expensive part ended up being the plant, which was only about $7.

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These were both small and simple projects, but they enhance the overall look of the room tremendously. Now I just have to try my best to keep them healthy!

A Vintage Makeover

If you are a regular blog reader or pinterest enthusiast, I am sure you have seen this all over the place:

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The Ikea¬†R√ÖSKOG cart! Beautiful, isn’t it? Industrial look, great¬†color, functional, easy to move, and even better, the price has gone down quite a bit since it first debuted. It currently retails for $49.99, making it a pretty affordable piece. Even still, I am a bargain hunter, vintage lover, and I can’t resist a project so when I saw a chance to make my own alternative I took it!

Last week I found a¬†beautiful plant stand at an estate sale. I usually do not go to estate sales on the first day. I like to scoop up the half price leftovers and get the best deal. I took a chance on this one since it was on my way home from work, and their ad said they were open to “reasonable offers” on any day as they were motivated to sell. So glad I went! They really didn’t have any of the kitschy/crafty little junk I usually scavenge for, but they did have this gem:

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I just couldn’t believe that no one had snatched it up yet! It had such character and potential. They had it priced at $35, but I only paid $30. Not a big difference, but I wanted to shave a little bit more off since I knew I was going to need to buy some paint. Luckily, the top tray is detachable, which made the painting process much easier. The feet were also easy to remove, so I did not have to tape off anything. Each foot has a rollerball, so that the piece can glide. I cleaned and oiled them, so they do move, just not very¬†smoothly.

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The big paint lesson I learned here was that I should have bought a cheaper can of white primer to start, then moved on to the color. Though the can¬†did boast being¬†paint and primer in one, I was going from black to light blue and a primer coat may have really helped save time and money. Always learning! The paint was very fast drying, which is ideal for outdoor painting since little critters can’t seem to stay away. This caterpillar was so happily nestled in, I felt bad moving him away!

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I ended up spending just under $11 for three cans of Krylon “Blue Ocean Breeze” paint. I could have used more for sure, as I skipped painting the underside of the shelves in an effort to save paint. So, my grand total for the project was about $41. When compared to the Ikea cart, my vintage piece is¬†less expensive, more interesting and unique, and an overall better fit for my space.

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It is the perfect size to go in front of the window, which is something I had been hoping to find. The top comes in at sill-level,  and the height of the legs allow for the air flow from the vent. I always need more storage in my studio. I am still working on arranging items on the shelf, but I have plenty of things to choose from!

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I am just so happy with how this project came together!