Anthropomorphic Lemon Snack Set

Lately I have found very, very little out at our local thrift stores but finally last week I walked out of Salvation Army thinking it hadn’t been a complete waste of time. This bright yellow snack plate and cup set had just been brought out that morning and was cheerfully waiting for me.

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It’s an anthropomorphic lemon-faced snack set. Too cute for me to pass up. Would you agree? This set was produced in Japan by PY Company and Norcrest. This lemon set was produced from the late 1940’s until 1961. Many other fruits and veggies can also be found with human like expressions on kitchenware during this time period.

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There are lots of fun, little details on these pieces but my favorite is the lemon skin texture around each cup. Too cute!

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A perfect kitschy kitchen snag! I think it’s time for a tea party with my niece.

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Before and After: The Long, Long Sofa

As much as I really love finding mid-century furniture in amazing original condition, there’s a special kind of a joy that comes from bringing a wonderful piece back from the dead. For me, most of the time these end up being refinished wood pieces. I never get tired of it, but I also know what to expect. I’ve resurrected a lot of lost wooden souls. Upholstered pieces, on the other hand, are just a whole different story. There’s just something about the transformation of an upholstered piece that gives me goosebumps. Perhaps you remember this beast I snagged awhile back?

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Or maybe not. This particular combination of ivory sadness and grandma floral might have caused you to repress it deep, deep into the recesses of your mind. Maybe you’ll remember how it looked when I peeled back the ugly to reveal the original fabric hidden beneath?

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Or perhaps its faded glory failed to leave much of an imprint on your brain either. Well, hopefully the extreme joy of seeing it come back to life with stay with you for years.

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BOOM! Try and forget that. 10.5 feet of amazing.

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I decided I really wanted to do this one right and make it spectacular. As a nod to its past I chose a fabric that had some similarities to the original. Then I hired a professional upholsterer who did an amazing job. The corners of the cushion are so perfect I could literally stare at them for hours. Some might call me “unstable” but I prefer “detail oriented.”

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I also refinished the wood. Damage to the original finish necessitated this, but I also decided to change the color of the wood. The original was kind of a sun-kissed pecan with fly-specking. It felt a little washed out. I changed it to a rich walnut hue and after seeing it all put together I really think it was the right choice.

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Man, I just really needed this. Mid-winter it’s just hard to stay motivated and getting this accomplished and having it look so great really makes me excited to find another great makeover story. Garage sale season is coming up soon…

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Weekend Finds: Eames Aluminum Group Table

While in the throes of winter it’s difficult to get a good get. There aren’t many estate sales and the thrift stores are barren and, frankly, it’s hard to muster the desire to leave the house to go to either of them anyway. That’s why I like Craigslist: it’s easy to shop from the comfort of your own home. I haven’t been finding much on there either, but just before giving up all hope entirely I just happened to click on the “General For Sale” tab. It’s a catch-all category. A no man’s land for all the wretched cast-offs that even Craig himself dared not name a category for. Marine batteries, door knobs, DIY medical devices and this…

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A 48-inch dining table designed by Charles Eames for Herman Miller. Though the sellers had posted it as an Eames table, their failure to place it in the oft viewed “furniture” category hid it from other buyers’ eyes for days until I found it. Although the listing said it had a wood top, it wasn’t easily visible in the photo and I assumed it to be laminate as so many of these are. Much to my surprise…

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Real wood veneer in flawless condition. Happy dance. I was a little baffled at the fact they knew it was an Eames table but didn’t slap a big Eames price on it. Never one to haggle against myself I asked no questions, but when I flipped the table over I found my answer.

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This table is a newer production (in fact it’s only about five years old) and bears an Eames Office authentication tag that Herman Miller now places on the tables. The sellers probably read this but never looked it up to see what it meant.

Original Herman Miller ad for the Eames Aluminum Group

Original Herman Miller ad for the Eames Aluminum Group

Charles and Ray Eames developed the aluminum group in 1958 as a commission for the J. Irwin Miller house designed by Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard. Herman Miller cites the round table as being introduced into the collection in 1964, though I think the contract base version (which this example is) may have been introduced earlier. All pieces have remained in continuous production by Herman Miller since their introduction.

So, this serves as a great reminder to occasionally look in those places you’d never expect to find anything. You might just find something iconic.

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Private Stash: Frae Scotland

One of the reasons I like thrifting and finding small things is the ability to glimpse into the past. I was cleaning out a bookshelf and found this little pouch I purchased at a flea market ages ago for $0.50.

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Why did I purchase it? Who knows. But when I got home there was a little surprise waiting for me.

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A set of gift tags from someone named Irene. Apparently these were very important to the little girl who received them and she saved them for over fifty years.

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Even the customs declaration from Edinburgh! The weird thing is I found the lady who Irene was sending gifts to from the magic of the internet and she just celebrated her 85th birthday. I love these little reminders of how important people are to each other. Happy Friday everyone!

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A Case Study in Chairs

I don’t have much self control when it comes to awesome chairs. I don’t have anywhere to put more chairs. They’re everywhere in this house. In some cases there are even chairs sitting behind other chairs. Though I issued myself a clear and assertive “no more chairs, no exceptions” directive, it was pretty powerless against this chair:

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The chair, designed by Gerald McCabe and produced by Brown Saltman in the early 1960s, was not a design I had seen before. But I loved it. And I was able to trade two other chairs for it, so technically it means I’ve reduced my total number of chairs while gaining one awesome new one.

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Despite knowing the designer and manufacturer, there isn’t a lot of information out there about it and actual examples of the chair seem to be even more scarce. It has, however, made some notable and historic public appearances. A stationary version of the chair can be seen in photographs of Case Study House #21, the Bailey House, designed in 1958 by Pierre Koenig. Many furnishings in the home were custom designed for the project by Gerald McCabe and it’s very likely he originally designed this chair for the project as well.

McCabe chair as seen in the living room of the Bailey House.

McCabe chair as seen in the living room of the Bailey House.

The McCabe chair in yellow as seen in a period photo of the Bailey House.

The McCabe chair in yellow as seen in a period photo of the Bailey House.

The chair was also featured in California Design 6 (1960), an annual exhibition of modernist design held by the Pasadena Museum of Art. The chair was eventually marketed as part of the Silhouette group by Brown Saltman, but it’s unclear who actually produced the chair, how many versions were sold and how many actual examples even exist. Outside of photos of the Bailey House, I can’t find any examples of the stationary version of the chair ever being sold or even existing. It’s possible it never went into production. Additionally, examples of the rocking chair have two different styles of runners and arms. Unlike mine with sandwiched steel runners and sculpted arms, many examples have solid wood runners and slab-like arms. Early examples of the chair were produced by Areon & Erin, changes in design could be explained by a shift to manufacturing by Brown Saltman.

Alternate version of the chair with different runners and arms.

Alternate version of the chair with different runners and arms.

A period photo showing an example identical to mine.

A period photo showing an example identical to mine.

Regardless of provenance or rarity, I really just love the chair. It has unique but refined lines. It’s just a beautiful piece of furniture.

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And it doesn’t hurt that it’s surprisingly comfortable, too.

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