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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chair Projects

I like to reupholster single chairs if they have interesting backs. I think the back adds to the design. If you pick the right fabric it can enhance the over all look.  Here is an example of picking the fabric for the style of chair.
Vintage bark cloth fabric with hunting motif
 I think this chair being walnut and from the 40's would look silly covered in modern fabric, it just wouldn't fit the era of the chair. The dark colors and vivid green compliment the herringbone, wood diagonals on the back.

I have another example to show you. This chair was a score, found in the garbage and is probably from the 1950's.  It has the same style as- Navy chairs (ladder back, sturdy aluminum). 
The fabric I picked was actually from an old apron. I notice it has Miller High Life beer on it. I guess that was the beer of choice in the 50's.
 I choose this fabric because of the fifty's vibe, a picnic scene.
When is the last time you saw ties being worn at a picnic?

Sturdy ladder back chair

Note the piping around the edge

I don't know if you can tell from the photo but I saved the original vinyl piping and reused it.  I think it was needed to make the look sleek and look like professional quality reupholstering.  If I do say so myself!!

There is something about blond wood furniture that screams FIFTY'S.

Catch you again in a few and I'll show you my next project. Blessings Babs

Friday, April 4, 2014

Summertime art and vintage shows

Vintage manual typewriters mixed with old cameras
The summer is on the way and soon we will be in the Art, Craft, Vintage show circuit.  My favorite one is Vintage Bazaar in Chicago.  They have a great Pop Up Market.
The outdoor market is a different feel, folks hawk their wares under the sun, people walk by, browse and chat. Hopefully BUY- but it is a cool experience just to be part of it. We meet so many interesting people. The true lovers of mid-century modern.

Besides the vintage which I try to incorporate my art, my pottery and watercolors into the display, they seem to draw interest.
My vintage suitcase displaying my paintings. A vintage dress form displays my pottery jewelry. It is fun to mix the two (art and vintage).


By the end of the day the items become a bit Hodge Podge from folks picking them up and moving them around. It is a very flea market feel.



So look for me sitting there in the hot sun, hopefully with a smile on my face.
I will post which upcoming shows we will be attending this summer.
I'm the sweaty one with the sunglasses-and yes I am still smiling!!!  Thanks to my BFF, Pam for hanging in there with me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Fever- garden window project and house plants in vintage pottery

Vintage Haeger pottery and little pot from Joanna Drost pottery

Hill-Rom desk, Lurelle Guild chair, Royal Aristocrat typewriter

Succulents in rock garden
I have been having spring fever and the itch to plant and get things growing. I started the plants out in the greenhouse today.  I am getting ready to garden.

 This is a favorite project of mine- a garden window.  I asked the hubby if he had a decent piece of glass for a shelf.  He asked "Why, what for......?"

Vintage donkey planter circa 1940's
Vintage Mc Coy pottery

Floating garden shelf of glass
He is always leery of my projects.  I said I wanted a shelf of glass over my kitchen sink.  I wanted him to attach it to the two cabinets that flanked the sink. He rolled his eyes and informed me that it must be TEMPERED glass to hold the weight.  Details, details......... I just wanted a simple shelf.

I think it turned out pretty well, if seems to float in space.  It's a great place for my orchids.  Now if they would just start blooming!!!!
How do you like my vintage pottery and little donkey? Isn't he cute?
I like to mix my plants in with my mid-century items about the house.  My favorite pottery is Haeger, Dryden, Hull, Mc Coy and Pigeon Forge.  The Haeger pots seem the most suited to rock gardens and succulents.
Haeger pottery and Danish modern dish
Hope you are starting to grow things too. Whether it is a house plant or a garden- Live green and reduce your carbon footprint.
Blessings Babs

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Before and After- Refurbished vintage dressers, very minty

A neighbor gave me a vintage bedroom set, it included everything but the headboard.  I received 2 small dressers that fit together to form one long, ladies bureau/credenza and a mirror that fits between them.  One high boy dresser for a man/boy. 
These were probably a set made from mahogany wood, circa 1940's or 1950's.  You know the type your mother or grandmother had for their entire married life!
 Well with the help of my husband we were able to transform these three lovely dressers into refurbished things of beauty.

Lets look at the BEFORE pics.

They were in nice shape just needed a bit of glue on a veneer piece.  These pieces are so sturdy and have a lovely curved front which I am not sure translates in these photos.
Now for the big reveal. The AFTER photos.  I suggested to my husband he make them ombre'- you know that gradual color change.  We picked a nice minty green, teal, aqua type color.  He got a little creative with this suggestion but I think it still looks good.

I am sure the drawers could be configured in another arrangement if one wished to do so.
Don't you think they will be perfect for a girls room? or a teenager with funky, eclectic taste??
Here is what the mirror transformed into.
I'm sure you are thinking that we have a lot of junk in our basement!
I agree, but that is the reality of doing a project in winter, in CHICAGO.  You work in your basement because your garage is TOO COLD.

Because my hubby worked so hard on them I wanted him to describe the process he used to restore them.

(This is a freshly refinished set of 3 vintage dressers and a large mirror. The original set is from the 40's or early 50's and the quality is good and solid. (It was dark mahogany before) It could probably store the clothes for 3 children.
Each piece was primed and finish coated twice with quality Pittsburgh paint. There is a finish coat of wax as a final protection and seal.
The drawers work well and there are plenty of them. The large dresser has 7. This piece is 53 3/4" tall, 37" wide and 20"deep. The front is curved, adding extra interest and appeal.
The 2 smaller dressers also have curved fronts matching the large piece. They are both 34 1/4" high, 30" wide, and 19" deep and have 4 drawers.
The hardware is original and painted in a vintage looking silver.
The mirror is large at 48" wide and 32"high.
Each dresser is painted in a four color scheme that is esthetic and easy on the eyes. Some of the drawers can be switched around to change up the scheme. I noticed the four colors don't show well in my photos. Much more distinctive in person and better light. (Pictures taken in my basement at night)

Based on the age and how they turned out, I'd rate the dressers a 95 out of 100. The mirror about 80 because the silvering has some streaks. No cracks or breakage.)


Please feel free to comment and tell us what you think of our project.  I would especially like to hear from you Pinterest folks because I am obessed with that site and I am constantly coming up with ideas.  I think my husband is contemplating divorce!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Etsy Friends

Cindy Fahnerstock-Schafer aka' Ira Mency
I wanted to give a SHOUT OUT to two of my wonderful, Etsy friends and fellow vintage artists. 
The first is, Cindy, from RetroChalet, she is a vintage shop owner and specializes in Melmac (plastic) dishes.  She has an interesting vintage blog and is an established expert on Russell Wright dinnerware. 
(Read the story on how she inherited a collection of such.)

I myself have a page on Pinterest and her Melmac dishes receives the most hits out of anything on my page! 
The beautiful, creamy, pastel colors of that indistructable plasticware which we all used and admired circa 1950's-60's draws folks in and catches the eye. 
That's it - EYE CANDY- and a must have for any retro kitchen!
I wondered if you folks know that Cindy is also an artist and creates her art by assembling pieces of toys, dolls, eclectic mix of vintage etc. into abstract sculptures.
Cindy's art is under the anagram/pen name,
Ira Mency. FABULOUS!!!  Oh I forgot-Ira Mency is also an author.
Check out Amazon.



Martha Layton -Smith
My second Etsy friend - Martha from Open Door Studio.  As an Etsy shop owner, Martha, has coined the term "warehouse chic", she has appeared in magazines, specializes in industrial motif, prop rental including vintage displays.

  She is also an artist and paints her lovely artwork in the great outdoors on location as she travels the country in her retro-camper/travel trailer.
You can read about her on her blog or check Martha out as the leader of the Etsy sellers team- VESTIES.

As artists we need to give kuddos to our fellow artists, build them up and shout their praises!
Love you two ladies!! Keep creating and know that I appreciate your ART.

Blessings Babs



Friday, January 31, 2014

Hello RetroBabs fans it's been awhile since my last post. I just thought I would share this fabulous quilt that Becky made for her son, Wynn. She handmade this quilt that consists of 4800 individual pieces.

This is a full size quilt not just a lap quilt for a baby. She wanted it to be a cherished keepsake. I think it will be a family heirloom!! I also made a quilt for myself out of my vintage fabrics. This is a photo of the quilt on the back of the couch. ( I know it's hard to focus on the quilt with the two bathtime buddies on my lap. The big boy is Wynn and the other child is our new granddaughter, Noa!) I did buy a few retro looking fabrics to add to the color scheme I wanted. I had a lot of barkcloth, earth tones and psychedelic fabric in my collection. I forgot to mention we had two new grandchildren this year! Noa Lilou and Adeline Ivy. They are the apple of my eye as well as my other kiddos. Just wanted to give you guys an update. Keep warm- Bec and I will try, but the Chicago winter has been brutal this year. We are expecting another snow accumulation tonight of 6-9 inches! THINK SPRING PEOPLE Follow us on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/retrobabs/

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Holy moly, no post since 2012!! Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Hello fellow vintage lovers. Bec and I cannot believe what a whirlwind year this has been. I have a new job where I travel monthly and Bec had a new baby. His name is Wynn Elliott and he is the apple of his Grandmother's eye!

We are truly blessed in our family to have two babies born this year. Noa Lilou came on Sept 8th I have been on a Jadiete/Jadite craze lately. Check out the mint green loveliness! Here is a Swirl mixing bowl size large and medium. They stack together. A Charm vegetable bowl and a saucer-plate. Beautiful Fire King ,Anchor Hocking collection. Check out RetroBabs on Etsy. Martha Stewart is a big collector of Jadeite. I'm just saying there is a trend happening in vintage housewares. Retro, kitsch from the 1950's is the newest craze. Bec and I wish you and yours a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for you readers and for our growing family.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from RetroBabs-
We hope your path is BLESSED!!!!!  Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall is here

Fall is upon us in Illinois and it is BEAUTIFUL. 
I went walking in the forest today and took my camera.
  Thought I would share the beauty.





Crisp, clean air and a bit of a chill, but the walk was relaxing and well worth it.  Hope your day is as lovely!  Blessings,Babs





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