Shag Art on a Mid-Century Modern Toy

Every nerd knows that San Diego Comic-Con happened recently. And for you non-nerds, San Diego Comic-Con is great big geek fest of fun. To add to the fun and funkiness this year, a Batusi Batman toy was released. Making it even more fun, the fact that Shag did all the art for the toy box.

It's a cheeky celebration one of the more embarrassing moments in Batman history. But the Shag art is as perfect as always and seeing his version of the old-school Batmobile is a little bit of a dream come true.

Plus, the people in the box dance the Batusi with Batman.

Mad for Mid-Century on Apartment Therapy

I was reading a post about travel-themed nurseries on Apartment Therapy and flipping through the gallery of gorgeous nurseries when all of a sudden I landed on one that looked very familiar, because it was our travel-themed nursery. If you're at all interested in a travel nursery, you should check out the post, there's some great inspiration there. I especially like the paper airplane nursery (second to last image).

My Mid-Century Austin Estate Sale Finds

Last week I mentioned an estate sale I hit up. It was one of the better ones I've been to for kitchen items. The kitchen is the room that we still need more mid-century details in, so I picked up a few things.

Like this candy dish / serving dish

And this cheese plater

They also had a gold and ruby version of my mid-century cuff links so I had to pick those up in case the wife ever wants to accessories with gold, I can still match.

But the best find was a monstrous mid-century dinnerware set. There are 13 complete sets (plate, salad plate, bowl, dessert bowl, coffee cup and saucer), 3 serving bowls, 2 serving platers and enough extra pieces that we don't have to be too scared if something breaks. All told, we got just under 100 pieces of of this avocado green dinnerware set, which has a nice fade to it.

The only downside it that it's unmarked and other than a few people selling a coffee cup or two, I haven't been able to find out anything about the set.

Just look at this handle, who wouldn't want a few of these in their cabinet?

Austin Estate Sale: 3202 Silverleaf

I hit this estate sale during my lunch break today. I knew if I waited till tomorrow morning most of the things I was interested in would be gone.

When I got there, this red cookware, which I was hoping to snag, was already gone. Expect for one lonely pair of salt and pepper shakers.

But there was a complete set of mid-century dinnerware still there.

More than complete, there was 13 sets (dining plates, salad plates, coffee cups, saucers, bowls and dessert bowls), 3 serving bowls, 2 serving platers and a few extra pieces. The price was right and we've been looking for some mid-century dinnerware to add to our kitchen, so that's where it's sitting now (more pics to come soon).

I also picked up a few other bits and bobs, but I did leave a few good things behind, like this mid-century lamp, which also lights up in the base.

And some really great jewelry. I'm not a big jewelry shopper at estate sales, but the collection here was particularly nice. I got my wife what I thought was the nicest necklace and I picked up a pair of vintage cufflinks for myself (again, more pics to come).


So, some of the nicest pieces are gone, but if you're looking for an estate sale to hit this weekend, the one at 3202 Silverleaf is probably still worth while.

The Hunt for a New Mid-Century Cocktail

A while back I went on a hunt for the perfect mid-century cocktail to serve at home. I thought the Moscow Mule was the answer, but I overestimated two things: how much I like ginger beer and how much other people like ginger beer. I made the switch to ginger ale but the drink lost something and it wasn't unique enough to be a signature house drink anymore.

So I went on the hunt again and came across the Zombie. It's an authentic tiki bar drink, but way too complicated to be our standard dinner party drink. Anything with seven ingredients, an umbrella and some fruit is too much work. I'd be making drinks all night and never get to mingle. But next time I'm at a tiki bar, I know what to order.

So I'm still on the hunt for a signature cocktail that I can serve at home, one that won't keep me trapped in the kitchen all night.

Mid-Century Beach House

We took a trip to the Gulf recently and stayed at a mid-century beach house. There were some details that seemed pretty cliche for a beach house, but the might add some interest to a landlocked home.

A driftwood medicine cabinet, which could look great in a modern or industrial bathroom.

A boat window in the shower

And a mid-century modern front door with a porthole window 

All three in a home (plus plenty of other beach-themed items that I didn't take photos of) is overkill, but one by itself adds an interesting quirk to your home.

The Dark Side of Austin Homes

I share this video for two reasons:
  1. If you don't want an 5' pig statue in your yard, don't move to Austin.
  2. When we were on the market for our current home, there was a house for sale in Travis Heights that was well below market value and I asked our realtor about it and he said, "I've been inside that house and there's a tree in the kitchen." And because that's such a surreal statement that you think he's exaggerating, I wrote back and said, "Look at the price. If we have to do some intensive yard work, it's still worth it. Even if there are some roots or something we have to dig up, it's still worth it." And, to his credit, he wrote back and said, "I know you love a house that needs some work, but this one literally has a tree in the kitchen. If you want to see it, I set up a tour this weekend."
My wife talked me down (out of the crazy tree), but watch this slightly NSFW video (because you'll find porn boxes in every foreclosure) to see what our realtor helped us avoid.

The Mid-Century Designs of Vespa

There's always been a little piece of me that's wanted a vintage Vespa, especially one with a sidecar. This video isn't helping the situation.


I love how the Vespas from '50 and '51 look like they're from the future.

Mid-Century Art: The Medium Control

Design studios are a great place to find art. Your print might not be signed and you might not even know who the actual artist is, but you can find pieces like this, especially if you shop at The Medium Control (which is where these prints are from).

Mid-Century Modern Kids' Books: Paul Thurlby's Alphabet

Every kid needs at least a few alphabet books and Paul Thurlby's Alphabet should definitely be one of them.

Alphabet books almost always come with the same letter/word match ups: A is for apple, B is for bee – which is a terrible example for kids, "This B is a letter, this bee is an insect." But Paul Thurlby's Alphabet is almost completely different than the expected alphabet – although D is for dog and R is for rabbit are pretty standard. But, I don't think you'll find another book where A is for awesome and S is for space.

This is also the only alphabet that I've see where X isn't for xylophone  – which is another terrible example for kids because X usually doesn't make a Z sounds, except in xylophone.

After your kid has mastered whatever standard alphabet book you're using to teach them letters, shift to Paul Thurlby's Alphabet. The illustrations are gorgeous and the letter/word match ups are unexpected – which is good for the parent who has to read the book 100 times and the kid who is learning what letters really look/sound like.

Our Town Austin in the '50s

The Texas Archive of the Moving Image has a great (albeit long) video called Our Town Austin that showcases Austin in the 1950s, which you can watch here

It's a step back in time that highlights some of Austin's great landmarks: South Congress, Barton Springs, UT, State Theater, the moonlight towers and more. And there's a bunch of advertising for Austin businesses mixed in because this was the '50s and that's how you got a film like this paid for back then. It's great, and sometimes sad, to see the amount of changes that have happened in our town over the past decades.

Vintage Pumpkin Candy Bucket and Carafe

I hit an estate sale in Allandale this weekend and came away with two good finds. First, this vintage pirate jack-o-lantern with a mustache pumpkin candy bucket.

It's your standard plastic pumpkin candy bucket, except 100 times better because it has both an eye patch and a handlebar mustache. It's missing the handle, but we needed a bowl to store the Halloween candy we hand out, so this will be perfect. Or we might just put it in the window.

Second, this mid-century coffee carafe.

I'm kind of a sucker for starbursts these days and this baby's got them in spades.

There were some other interesting mid-century pieces there, but we don't have any more room for chairs or other random furniture, like a magazine racks. But it leads me to believe that the best plan for estate sales is to stick to mid-century neighborhoods in Austin, the number of good mid-century items increases greatly in these areas.

Reader Question: Unknown Mid-Century Rope Dining Set


 Tom wrote in asking me about a mid-century wicker dining set:
Recently I came across this dining room set, but I don't know much about it. I don't even know if it's mid-century or not, but it just looks quirkey oddly cool. Do you know anything about this design?
Between the design and use of rope, it definitely seems like a mid-century set (rope in furniture was picking up in popularity in the early to mid '50s), but I've never seen this particular dining room set.

Anyone in internet land know something about this set of mid-century table and chairs?

Mid-Century Art: Matt Mills

I'm not sure I'd hang an image of mid-century furniture over that exact piece of mid-century furniture, but that art of Matt Mills would make a pretty nice addition anywhere else in a mid-century modern home.

Mid-Century Austin Homes: 7706 Lazy Lane

This is a fairly typical house in the Crestview neighborhood in Austin – as you might notice when the cameraman does a spin in the front yard. And it's why anyone looking for a mid-century home in Austin should probably start in Crestview. Many of the mid-century homes there still have much of their original look and details. They might need a little love and some fresh paint, but the bones are strong and with a little work you can have the atomic ranch of your dreams.

Mid-Century Modern DIY Sofa Bed

We've been looking for a small sofa or love seat to add to the living room. We need extra seating for when we have more than a few guests. We aren't willing to invest in a nice piece because with a kid in the house a nice piece won't last more than a few years. Our tufted modern sofa with a missing button will attest to that.

This image from Remarkably Retro of sofas that double as guest beds has me thinking, maybe we can make our own sofa. A twin bed, a nice fitted sheet, a decently thick board under it and some hairpin legs and you've got a pretty nice sitting place that's easy enough to make yourself. Put it against a wall with some pillows and you've got a fine DIY sofa bed that doesn't cost too much. Plus, if any of the guests happen to stay over, they'll have a place to sleep.

Happy (Mid-Century) 4th Everyone

Happy 4th everyone. Don't forget to be a good citizen over the holiday.

Heywood Wakefield Vintage Furniture Ad

I love stumbling across vintage furniture ads, like this Heywood Wakefield Home-Planned Modern ad. I also love how vintage furniture ads have a section at the bottom that let you mail away for a larger catalog, like this Broyhill furniture ad and this Broyhill Premier ad

Anyone know why it was always a quarter to get the catalog? At the time, was that enough of an investment that not everyone would send in for one, but anyone who was interested would? As an advertising copywriter that seems like the audience that I'm always told to try and capture.

Mid-Century Art: Eric Tan

I haven't been this excited about an art show in a while. Eric Tan is in the middle of his first solo show, "FLY," at Gallery 1988. The entire show is based on Eric's travels and his imaginary airline, Tanner Airlines. 

Eric works as Disney/Pixar during the day, which is probably why this is his first solo show, and has done some amazing posters in the past. I was just waiting for some original prints from him so I could jump on it, which I did by buying one of the London prints (above).

Any of these posters would be perfect in a travel-themed nursery, or any room in a mid-century house. They have that perfect mid-century travel poster look.

And the details on the Hollywood poster make it even more mid-century.

The silk-screened prints are limited to 100 and are each signed and numbered.