Vintage Mid-Century Wooden Ornaments

My dad passed down a few mid-century wooden ornaments. He made them in college. They were little wood sets that you glued together and painted yourself. I've got to say, my dad did a pretty outstanding job of painting them.

There is a: Dove




British soldier




and wise man.

He also passed on this cloth owl, which is a bit crazy, but I still love it.

These are all hanging on the mini-tree in the kid's bedroom and, collectively, it's a great look.

Last Minute Mid-Century Modern Holiday Gifts

If you're out looking for a few last minute mid-century modern holiday gifts or stocking stuffers, CB2  has a few good options.

Clear and silver glass sputnik ornaments

Modern holiday village

Origami-esque white birds

A modern take on a x-mas tree

And if you want to add something for me to your cart, I love this restaurant style mini creamer

And skull ice cube mold.

Vintage Glass Colored Ball Ornaments

We needed some filler ornaments to go with our glass mid-century ornaments, but we wanted to keep the same vintage look. So when I saw this pack of colored glass ornaments at an estate sale, I picked it up.

Even the packaging is incredibly mid-century. I love the Pyramid logo with the starbust for an i.

We got 15 jumbo ornaments, so they should do a good job of filling the blank spots in the tree.

Vintage Plastic Christmas Decorations

'Tis is season to buy vintage plastic Christmas decorations. That's why at the last estate sale I went to, I picked up this plastic candle

And this plastic Santa

The candle still has a cord and light so it's going to go next to the tree, but the Santa's cord is lost so he's going to live out on the porch.

They'll add more authentic mid-century flare to our holiday decorations this year.

Vintage Views: The Retro Christmas Card Company

If you're like me you haven't sent your holiday cards yet, or even ordered them. If that's the case, you're in luck because you can still order them from The Retro Christmas Card Company, which has loads of mid-century and vintage inspired holiday cards.

This time on Vintage Views, we talk to Diane Dempsey, Art Director at The Retro Christmas Card Company.

How did The Retro Christmas Card Company get started?
I am a graphic designer and illustrator by profession and I've been a freelance artist for over 20 years. My specialty has always been historical events – promotions for museums, etc.  – so I's well versed in creating period perfect graphics and illustrations.

Originally Retro Christmas Card Company was named (crazy name, I know) and we made an array of printed items: posters, birthday cards, wrapping paper and the like. After a few years, we realized that the most interest was in our retro Christmas cards, so we focused on developing that line. This year we dropped WhatsBuzzin and adopted our old tagline as our new company name.

What was the inspiration behind Retro Christmas Card Company?
I have always had a love of vintage memorabilia, especially Christmas. I have saved ornaments from my childhood, along with vintage toys and snapshots. The holidays are an especially nostalgia fueled time of the year and I felt a line of cards that make people think "Hey, I remember that" would make for a natural solution to a one-of-a-kind Christmas card collection.

Why did you decide to focus on mid-century designs? 
Mid-century was my favorite well before it became the catch phrase of today. I was born in 1960, so I lived through part of the mid-century. It is easy to design within an aesthetic that I'm so familiar with.

Do you add new designs every year? 
Yes. We try to do as many as nine new cards a year.

What are your best selling cards? 
It varies each year. The past two years it has been the MCM houses. But most of the images qualify as mid-century, so the collection as a whole is building in popularity.

Do you have a personal favorite?
I have to say my personal favs are the illustrated ones - they are a tribute to the commercial artists of the 1950s and 1960s.

Any plans to move beyond X-mas cards? Maybe house warming invites? 
I have a line of all occasion cards, invitations, posters and gifts on my other store Retro Gift Ideas and I design wedding invitations and shower invitations for the very vintage bride and groom at Vintage Wedding Invitation.

If you're in need of some last minute holiday cards, or are so prepared that you're already thinking about next year's card, head over to The Retro Christmas Card Company.

Modern Glass Ball Ornaments at CB2

One of the more persistent questions I get is about the double globe ornaments from West Elm that I wrote about a few years ago.

People love them and are still trying to track them down. Luckily, this year CB2 picked up the torch and made their own version of double globe ornaments, which they're calling bulb ornaments.

If you're looking for something like the West Elm double globe ornaments, or need a few replacements, these CB2 bulb ornaments are probably your best option.

Mid-Century Art: Matte Stephens

Years ago I was a content writer for an art blog and I had the pleasure to interview Matte Stephens. I loved his work before and I've followed his work since, and I love it even more. He sites Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, George Nelson and Irving Harper as influences, so his work is bound to fit perfectly in a mid-century home.

His work spans many subjects, but he has a few major themes:



And cityscapes.

If you're looking to add some Matte Stephens art to your wall, his Etsy shop is the place to go.

Done: Put in New Backyard Grass

We had a bit of a cold snap in Austin which delayed installing the sod, but things have warmed up again so sod went in yesterday.

The grass is a little brownish now because it's winter and it's gone dormant, but by spring time it will be well rooted and fully green.

Having grass makes the whole yard look a lot bigger, and it give ample play space for the kid now. We couldn't be happier with it.

As a final touch we also moved the two cactuses that were in the yard over near the carport. It's the perfect spot for them.

We also added a black mid-century modern outdoor planter with bamboo in it to block the sightline to the side of the carport. We wanted something to breakup the space so it doesn't just look like a dead zone and bamboo has the authentic mid-century landscaping look we're going for, and putting it in a planter makes sure that it doesn't spread or get out of control.

We did the same at the back of the carport, so if you're in the yard you won't see a valley between the fence/property line and the garage.

Vintage Christmas Gift Tags

Folded into the vintage wrapping paper I recently found were a few vintage gift tags. I really love the mid-century illustrations on each of the tags, especially the Santa. They're the perfect thing to put that final touch on a gift for that special someone.

Lessons from Mid-Century Design

I just came across Build's "10 Forgotten Lessons of Mid-Century Modern Design."

  1. Modestly nestling the home into the site rather than building “on top of” the ground feels better.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. Good design creates a progression between privacy and transparency.
  4. Connecting the inside to the outside creates harmony with the site.
  5. Old school passive design is highly sustainable.
  6. Small, efficient bedrooms are perfectly pleasant.
  7. Outdoor rooms are just as important as indoor rooms.
  8. Screen walls offer privacy without cordoning off the interiors.
  9. Let nature do the work.
  10. Quality of light is more important than the light fixture.
They're good lessons for sure, but I'm not sure anyone who actually lives in a mid-century home or mid-century modern house has actually forgotten any of these rules. They kind of come with the territory of living in a MCM home.

Alexander Girard Bearbrick Art Toys

Worlds collided for me today when I found out that there are Alexander Girard art toys out there. They're great little toys, but I don't think I'll be adding them to my art toy collection. I try to stay away from platform art toys (toys with the same shape, in this case a bear, that different artists and designers use as a base). Also, they sold out a long time ago, making them hard to find and a pain in the wallet when you do.

Kikkerland Retro Alarm Clock

I'm starting to fall in love with all the vintage-looking clocks that are available. For example, this Kikkerland alarm clock, which would look great on a mid-century guest room nightstand. Pair it with this retro wall clock in the kitchen and all of your time pieces start to become retro-inspired details that complete the look of your mid-century home. It wouldn't hurt to have a few originals around the place too, like a lovely mid-century world map clock on the mantel.