Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm kind of disgusted with the whole house thing right now, so we're gonna try something a little different today.

It's time for me to lay a little family history on you.

Growing up, I never really knew much about my relatives.  I'd get a few tidbits here and there, but on the whole I was oblivious to who they were and what they did.  It didn't really bother me at the time, but now I really wish that I'd investigated a bit more before all of these interesting people passed away and their stories were lost.  There really were quite a few oddballs.

Take my great grandfather, for example.  After emigrating from Germany to the US just prior to WWI, he started his own meatpacking business, which quickly expanded.  As his enterprise grew, he also opened several subsidiaries, one of which is pictured below (Look at those retro delivery trucks!).  

Most people might have a ribbon cutting ceremony or something to celebrate the opening of a new factory.  He bought a whale and brought it up the Mississippi. 

Yes, that's right, a whale (of the Baleen variety).  Apparently it was a big to-do in St. Louis at the time.

The more crazy stories that I hear about this guy, the more it makes me wish I would have met him.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Plethora of Pollock

I know they aren't exactly uncommon or high-end but I absolutely love Knoll Pollocks.  They're durable, comfortable, and have an attractive minimalist design.

However, as they say, you can have too much of a good thing.

(Yes, that is a Snuggie resting atop that Knoll Pollock.)

I think that might be the case here, as I've assembled quite an extensive collection.  I've got cloth, vinyl, leather, 4 star bases, 5 star bases, tagged, untagged, black-rimmed, chrome-rimmed, you name it.  And yet, not a single one has upholstery that is in good condition.

It would seem that my home has become a shelter for abused and abandoned Knoll Pollocks.  It's like a mid-century modern orphanage.

But just look at these pitiful chairs.  They've been scratched, scuffed, stained, and had buttons ripped from their cushions.  Could you turn these poor wretches away at your door?

I certainly couldn't, but that's left me with a bit of a predicament: no money, no time, and no idea how to fix them up.

<cue uplifting piano music>

Every day, thousands of mid-century office chairs suffer neglect and abuse.  Hi, I'm Nick from Save the Pollocks.  For only a dollar a day, you could make a difference in the life of this poor Knoll Pollock.  Give the gift of a brighter future with fresh upholstery and properly attached buttons.  Donate today and you will receive a hand-written letter written from the comfort of your adopted chair.  Thank you for your support and kindness and have a wonderful day.

(Disclaimer: Save the Pollocks is not an actual charity.  All proceeds from Save the Pollocks will, in all likelihood, be used to purchase additional unneeded mid-century crap.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm back!

What a week!  My muscles have atrophied and my eyes have grown sensitive to bright light but this Dragon-born is ready for his triumphant return to the real world.

Ok, I'll stop with the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim references (But seriously, go pick this game up right now!).

In order to get back into the swing of things, I've decided to take up yoga again.  I participated in a class several years ago and really enjoyed it, so we'll see how that goes.

In other news, my fellow blogger Kate over at Retro Ranch Revamp, posted this fantastic retro-modern lamp yesterday.  You can click the link to read more about it, but long-story-short, there's a small start-up, Caravan Pacific, that is collecting money over at Kickstarter so that they can begin production.  They call it the Alberta, but I'm going to refer to it as the Lamp of +10 Coolness (OK, that's the last one.  I promise.)

Source: Retro Ranch Revamp

When I saw it, I couldn't believe my eyes.  It looks almost exactly like the mid-century lamp that I've pursued for the last several months!

source: Christina @ PMV

This is the only picture that I could scrounge up online, but these things pop up all the time on Craigslist in St. Louis.  I'm just NEVER off of work early enough and they go practically as soon as they're posted.

In all honesty, I actually like the reproduction more, as the extra weight on the bottom makes it appear a bit more visually balanced.  However, the repro goes for $275, which is way, way out of my price range.

Can anyone ID this lamp? I can't find anything, but they must have been fairly popular if they're popping up so frequently.

By the Nine Divines, I must have one! (Help!  I can't stop myself)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm not a geek! Ok, maybe a little.

I may have been skimping on posts over the last week or so, but I promise that there's a perfectly reasonable explanation.

I've been learning dragon shouts, fighting orcs, and exploring dungeons.

That's right.  Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is out!  I've spent the last 5 years waiting for this game, and it's lived up the every one of my wild expectations, so please excuse my absence.  If you haven't picked up a copy, do so today.  You won't regret it.

Don't worry, I'll keep you all apprised of any MCM developments and keep updating regularly.

I'd also like to extend my apology to my girlfriend, family, and friends.  No, I haven't been kidnapped.  I've just become a Skyrim recluse.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Estate Sales

Take a bunch of naturally competitive people who are desperate to get ahold of rare and sometimes valuable treasures, sprinkle in a few crazies and weirdos, add a bit of sleep deprivation/exposure to the elements, and mix in vague, contradicting rules and conventions and you've got a recipe for drama.  Anticipation, disappointment, joy, regret, frustration, conflict - It's all there.

I've only been attending since I bought my first home several months ago, but If you've ever been to an estate sale, you're bound to have a few stories.  There's always the rule-breaker, "the item that got away", fist fights, or people who do some straight-up bizarre stuff.

So let's hear 'em.  What's your best estate sale tale?

My favorite so far was the sale where the family members came in about an hour before the sale started and cleared out all of the decent items in the entire place.  People were LIVID.

source: smugmug

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

It's my birthday!

For one whole day, I can do anything my heart desires .... 

... which will include going to work, sleeping off this barbecued beef hangover, and playing some Battlefield 3.  I don't know how I'll manage all of the excitement.

While I may be a boring old man, some people like to go all-out.  Take a gander at these mid-century modern cakes.  Personally, I could go for a slice of that Barcelona.

 Source: Weddingbee

Source: Getmod 

 Source: midcenturymodernfurniturethenandnow

Source: Obsessilicious

Source: victoriaoya

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beef Hangover

Good BBQ, good friends, good weather - What more could one ask for?  The first party at the new house was a great success.  Thanks for coming everyone!

If you happened to enjoy the beef ribs, here's the recipe:

1. Remove membrane from the concave side of the rack of ribs
2. Place ribs in baking pan, convex (meaty) side down
3. Fill pan and coat ribs with 4-to-1 mixture of Italian dressing and beer (I use Great Value dressing and Budweiser)
4. Cover with aluminum foil
5. Let marinade for 24 hours, turning twice
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
7. Bake ribs (with pan covered and with marinade) for 1 hour and 30 minutes
8. Remove ribs from pan and place on BBQ for approximately 20 minutes (or until sufficiently crispy), turning once

I'm a big BBQ sauce fan, so I also slather the ribs with a bit of Sweet Baby Ray's when I put them on the grill.  Delish!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lesson learned: The day that you write a long, in-depth blog post will always be the day that the power goes out at work right before you hit "publish"

So, lets start over and I'll keep it short.

A few days back, I stumbled across this Brasilia gentlemen's chest at the Salvation Army and it was love at first sight.  What a beautiful piece of furniture!  However, as with most thrift store finds, it wasn't in the best of shape.

The whole thing was worn and covered in small scratches, nicks, gouges, and chips.  While I'm not opposed to  using well-loved furniture, something needed to be done.

Here comes Howard's to the rescue!  I'd heard about Howard's products through several MCM collectors, one of whom referred to it as "Jesus Juice."  So, I thought I would see if it lived up to the hype.

First, I began with a coat of Howard's Restore-A-Finish ($6.00 - Home Depot), which comes in several shades to match a variety of finishes.  After cleaning the piece, you just dip a lint-free, soft cloth (or fine steel wool if it's looking particularly mucky) in a bowl of Howard's and wipe it on with the grain of the wood.  About 30 minutes later, go back with a clean cloth and wipe off the excess.

Though it doesn't completely cover up missing veneer and, obviously, won't remove deep gouges, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the results.  Many of the smaller discolorations and marks completely blended away and the others became far less visible.

After about an hour of drying, I moved on to the Howard's Feed-N-Wax ($7.00 - Home Depot), a wood preserver that contains carnauba wax, beeswax, and orange oil.  You'll go through the same process here.  Just wipe it on, wait, wipe off, and let dry.  After the Restore-A-Finish did it's part, the Feed-N-Wax really brought out the wood grain and, after a quick buffing, gave the finish a pleasant satin sheen.

I'm impressed.  Though it's no panacea for torn-up wood furniture (you will need to refinish for pristine results), the Howard's combo delivered and my Brasilia is looking super fine without the pain and hassle of a full sand-down and refinish.  For that, it receives a solid recommendation.

A few tips:
*Test these products on an inconspicuous area first
*Wear gloves.  I didn't and this stuff is oily and hard to get off of hands.
*Let coats dry before reapplying.  I did two coats of each.
*Give everything a thorough rub-down (preferably several) to remove any residue before using the furniture.

Source: Amazon

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Random observation

After my first ever grown-up Halloween (where I'm actually the one handing out the candy), I must say that I was really disappointed by the lack of courtesy displayed by many of the children as well as their parents.

Not knowing what to expect, I bought 3 huge bags of candy, thinking that I'd rather have too much than not enough to go around, as I'd hate to disappoint.  Those little devils cleaned me out before 8:30!

Time was, you always said "trick or treat", told a terrible joke, took one piece of candy (or a few more if they TOLD you it was alright), and then said "thanks."  These kids just showed up, didn't acknowledge me, and either held up their bag expecting it to be filled or grabbed as much candy as they can fit in their grubby little paws before they ran off without so much as a "hello."  One or two sets of parents scolded their children for doing so, but a surprising number let it slip by.

I even had one mother get indignant because I didn't have the forethought to buy candy that was peanut-free and several children respond with, "I don't like any of these."  For God sake, just take a Snickers, Reeses Cup, or Kit Kat, and move on.  I'm giving away free candy here!

Has anyone else also noticed that Halloween is completely supervised now?  The best part of trick-or-treating was getting dressed up and leaving your parents at home to stroll around the neighborhood with your friends.  Where's the fun in being driven house to house by mommy and daddy?

Now, get off my lawn!