Mid-Century Art: Donna Mibus

The art of Donna Mibus is pretty clearly inspired by mid-century design. Her work reminds me of a brighter, more modern Robert Lyons. I love the flat color and simple shapes. They'd fit perfectly in any mid-century home.

Mid-Century Modern Kids' Books: Art by Patrick McDonnell

If you're a fan of the funny pages, then you probably know Patrick McDonnell as the author of Mutts. He also has a wonderful kids' book, Art. Art is about a little boy named Art who makes art. It's as quick and punchy as you would expect a book built on a play on words to be. And it's this play on words that makes it not boring for parents (especially those that have to read it multiple times a day, because you will have to read it multiple times a day).

It's especially nice because it starts conversations around art with very young children and helps them understand what art is, perhaps a little earlier than kids without this book. It's a must read for any creative parent or parent who wants a creative kid.

VW Bus Playscape for Kids

People in Austin love VW buses, including myself. The first hand-made, kid-themed VW bus item I ever saw was this VW bus wagon. Now this playscape has popped up on Austin's Craiglist. It's probably a stretch to actually call it a playscape, but that's what it's listed as. I guess if you slap a slide on anything, it can technically be a playscape. That said, it would make a pretty sweet neighborhood club house (as long as the windows/doors remained open).

I've been on the hunt for the perfect VW bus (in running condition), now I'm wondering if I just find a broken down one, pull the interior, park it in the backyard and call it a club house. I think the kid would love it.

Vintage TV Converted into a Bar

I love vintage TVs. There's just something ecstatically pleasing about the wood surrounding them, instead of black plastic. But they're big, heavy and basically useless (with the switch to digital). That is, unless you convert it into a bar, like this TV.

We have our American of Martinsville bar and don't really have a need for a second bar, but if we ever do, I'll be hitting up the local Goodwills to try and find a vintage TV to break the screen out of.

Inside Scoop on an Estate Sale

One of my grandfathers is moving to California after living in the same home in the midwest for over 50 years. The midwest fraction of my family is putting on an estate sale to make the move much lighter.   I haven't been in his house since I was a child, long before I could appreciate the mid-century design of some of his things.

My mom sent me photos of things in the sale and I asked her to pick up more than a few things for me.  Now I just have to figure out how to get them down from the midwest to my mid-century modern home in Austin.

I picked up these mid-century kitchen tins

We've been looking for a new fruit bowl and this orange bowl is going to be perfect. I also picked up the blue and white bowl. I'm sure we'll find some use for it.

I spotted the coffee pot behind among all the other items and had to have it. I've been trying to add more mid-century items to my morning coffee routine.

We also picked up some mid-century Christmas decorations in the forms of some slightly creepy Santas.

All small, detail pieces, but I think they'll add a lot to the mid-century look of the place.

New Mid-Century Modern Mad Men Opening Title

I have a thing well-designed, alternate open sequences, like Dexter or X-Men. Now I can add Mad Men to the list.

Our Free Mid-Century Chairs

There are two mid-century chairs in our house that we got for free. When you live in a college town like Austin, there's a lot of free furniture on the curb at the end of the school year. Most of it is puffy couches from the '80s, but we're incredibly happy with these two finds. Neither of them have any maker's marks or anything to identify them by, but we still love the look of both of them.

This green chair with no arms sits in the corner of our bedroom.

And this white chair sits next to our front door (and weighs about 45 pounds).

My Mid-Century Cufflinks

For the first time in my life I have an actual need for some cufflinks. There is no shortage of cufflink options in this world, but I decided that I wanted a nice set of true mid-century cuff links. So I got these.

I think they'll add a bit of flash to whatever I'm wearing, they're a bit of a conversation starter and since they're mid-century cufflinks there a decent chance they'll start the conversation in a mid-century design direction. So they're the perfect cufflinks.

I got them on Etsy. If you're not checking Etsy's vintage section when you're looking for a mid-century piece, you might be missing out.

Mid-Century Paint Colors from England

If you happen to be in England and looking for mid-century paint colors, Little Greene might just be the place. They've researched and done paint analysis on historic properties from the 1950s to accurately recreate a line of mid-century paint colors.

There are only eight colors, but they're pretty outstanding. They're a little richer and brighter than most of the American mid-century paint colors I've seen.

I really like the Canton and think it would look great in a mid-century modern kitchen.

And if you're in America, it looks like Little Greene has distributors here, but I'm not sure the availability of specific colors. If you like what you see though, it'd be worth a phone call to one of them.

Mid-Century Modern Kids' Books: Warhol Inspired Kids' Book

We have Pop Warhol's Top and it's a fun kids' book with different touch and play pages that walk kids through some staples of the pop art movement. The lid Warhol's Campbell’s Soup Can (Tomato) opens up, mustard on Lichentsein's Mustard on White is sticky, etc. It was the one book that we bought the kid; the library and grandparents have otherwise made sure all the shelves in the nursery are stacked high with books. But it is out of print now and ridiculously expensive, especially for a kids' book.

But another fun Warhol-inspired mid-century modern kids' book is Andy Warhol's Colors

The colors are bright and the words are fun to read. And that's about all you can ask from a colors book.

Witco Map of the World

I happened upon what might the most authentic and possibly one of the most expensive pieces you could put in a travel-themed nursery: The Witco world map.

It originally came with a standard Witco tag on the back that read:
Where decor becomes art

Your hand carved Witco original is of select red cedar. The surface is burned and waxed to complement the coarse grain. The continuous use of any household wax will enhance its beauty.

Like all raw woods this product is subject to checking and splitting. We therefore suggest that black liquid shoe polish, india ink or dark stain be used to touch up the checked area. Direct exposure to sunlight will bleach and fade your idol, fountain or bench. We recommend a dark walnut stain be applied where large surfaces are involved to return your Witco Original to its' natural beauty.

For exterior use we recommend 50% Turpentine and boiled Linseed Oil to retain the richness of the color.
The Witco world map was designed by William Westenhaver for Witco Inc, which originally stood for the Western International Trading Company, and it measures 63" by 33" – which means you would need a pretty big travel nursery to hang it.