Our 2011 Mid-Century Christmas Tree

Our tree has been up for a while, but I finally got around to taking a photo. Our mid-century ornaments look pretty good with our new mid-century tree topper.

In other end-of-the-year news: I'm taking a break from blogging over the holidays so I can relax and spend time with family and friends. Your daily dose of mid-century commentary will be back in the new year. I will be making some updates and improvements over the intermission, and there's pretty good chance I'll break things. So if things start looking odd or not working, it should hopefully be fixed before the next time I post.

Thanks for reading this year and have a wonderful New Year.

Mid-Century Home Improvement, 2011

With the end of the year quickly approaching, I'm starting to wrap up this year's home improvement goals and think about plans for next year. I've updated our to-do list and I think next year is going to be the year of outdoor. I'm planning on focusing on the front porch and front and back yard, and maybe the carport area if I'm feeling extra ambitious.

Looking back a old improvements, there are a few small ones that made a big difference. Our electric bill has dropped by 20% since we've moved in, in part because of the solar screens we added and some insulation efforts we made. And our water bill is down 10% from fixing leaky plumbing and fixtures.

I think the biggest visual improvement of the year was painting the master bedroom closet. It's something I see every day, and every day I'm thankful I don't see bright green. Although the new ceiling fan is really nice too.

Frank Lloyd Wright Paint Colors

Speaking of mid-century paint colors, the Guggenheim announced that they've partnered with Fine Paints of Europe to release their own paint collection, including paint colors originally chosen by Frank Lloyd Wright when he designed the Guggenheim.

From the press release:
For more than fifty years the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York has selected the perfect wall colors to complement the celebrated collection of modern art showcased in its Frank Lloyd Wright–designed home on Fifth Avenue.

Beginning this fall, the Guggenheim will share these trade secrets with homeowners, interior designers, architects, and art lovers everywhere. The Classical Colors is a set of 150 wall colors drawn from much-loved paintings in the Guggenheim’s permanent collection. The Gallery Colors are comprised of 50 hues favored by generations of Guggenheim Museum curators, artists, and designers—including Wright himself.
If you're interested in having Frank Lloyd Wright paint colors in your home, you can order a fan book of colors for Fine Paints of Europe (which is a bit expensive) or find a local retailer.

Authentic Mid-Century Interior Paint Colors

I'm always trying to add to my list of authentic mid-century homes paint colors, and I just happened upon a few more swatches from the 1950s.

These DuPont mid-century colors are a lot more toned down than the O'Brien mid-century colors, so those might work better if you're looking for a mid-century modern paint scheme. But these feel a little more like authentic mid-century colors to me, but maybe that's because my mid-century ranch's walls are pretty close to the light gray on that first swatch.

US Patents as Mid-Century Artwork

I saw this in a store window here in Austin, but apparently Heather at Brady Bunch Remodel had the same idea (or saw the same store window). US patent drawings make a great, cheap piece of artwork for any mid-century home.

Normally I'd send you straight to the source to download your own images, but the US Patent and Trademark Office site is a bit of a nightmare, especially if you're on a mac, so I'd suggest Google's patent search, which lets you download printer-friendly pdfs.

I've been wondering what art I was going to put on the wall next to our breakfast table, and I think I just found it.

Prints for a Travel-Theme Nursery

Anyone setting up a travel-themed nursery should know about JHill Design. They have prints of landmarks, cities, states and countries that you can customize with personal information. They also have some pretty darn cute animal and family tree prints.

Travel-Themed Nursery with a Custom Mural

Project Nursery has some snaps of an Around the World nursery. I love the paint colors and how some world landmarks are worked in.

World Map Wall Decal for a Travel Nursery

Yesterday I mentioned some transportation wall decals that would be great for a travel-themed nursery if you didn't want to put up a big map on the wall.

However, I've had a few people ask, "Where did you buy your world map decal?"

Well, we painted (with the aid of a digital projector) so that the map would be big enough to fill the wall. But there are some nice world map wall decals out there. If you search Amazon or Etsy for "map wall decal" you're bound to turn up multiple sizes and colors of globe wall decals like these:

And if you're looking for something that's a little more Paula Scher like, this world wall sticker might be more to your liking:

Wall Decals for a Travel Nursery

If you don't want to paint a giant map in your travel-themed nursery, you might want to check out these transportation wall decals, which would work great in any travel nursery. I particularly like the planes and the modern train engine.

Mid-Century Christmas Tree Topper

I've already searched and found our mid-century tree topper, but there is a new contender this year from ModCloth and it may have made me think twice if I found it last year.
It's pretty similar to our starburst tree topper and I think either would look great on top of any tree.

Mid-Century Modern Christmas Decorations

Some major stores are diving into mid-century modern Christmas decorations head first.

CB2 has a holiday collection that includes this mid-century ranch snow globe:

And this mid-century modern doll house, with what looks like a miniature Malm fireplace:
And it's much more affordable than the last mid-century dollhouse I mentioned.

While West Elm is carrying these modern nut crackers, elves and Santas:

And these double globe ornaments that would look great on any silver christmas tree:

Happy holidays!

2013 update: If you're looking for the double globe ornaments, CB2 has similar modern glass ball ornaments for sale.

Visual Aid Number 26

Visual Aid 26 - There's no place like home
There's one additional poster that I felt should be included in my series on the Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides, Visual Aid number 26. It's commonly mistaken for Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides 26, which is understandable because the Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides 26 is pretty hard to track down and both poster series are made by the T.G. Nichols Company. With the amazing illustration and cute little lesson attached, I can see why it's mistaken.

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides Number 36

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides 36 - Cooperate
It's been a long run, but this is the last in the Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides series. And what better way to end than a bird in glasses?

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides Number 35

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides 35 - I have a little tooth brush
The poster reads in full:
I have a little tooth brush,
I use it every day,
To keep my teeth all clean and white
And save them from decay.

I have a soap and flannel,
I use them, you can tell;
My mother says that cleanliness
Will help to keep me well.
Another original, unsigned poem from the Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides.

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides Number 34

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides 34 - Honor thy father and thy mother
1930s schools were definitely different than today. Some of these posters wouldn't be able to be hung now; this one, probably the Easter and Santa ones and the couple that have depictions of nakedness on them. I can only imagine the graffiti that would invite these days.

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides Number 33

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides 33 - Use baskets
It took me a little to figure it out, because I've never trash cans referred to as baskets, but I think this is a "don't litter" lesson.

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides Number 32

Character-Culture-Citizenship Guides 32 - Crusade against dirt
Another cleanliness message, though this one is the most heroic of the lot.