Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve 2016
Best Christmas Tree Ever!

I'm not one to look back (even through I deal in vintage furniture) - instead I'm looking forward to the next year.

2017 is the year that my oldest will graduate High School. When he was a baby, we calculated his graduation year and 2017 seemed impossibly far away.

2017 is the year I turn 50  - I'm not dreading it, I have been amazingly chill about aging. It surprises me but I'm glad to discover that about myself (Although there was that 3 months when I wanted my nose pierced -  it happened about the time I turned 40...so maybe I panic a little.)

2017 is the year I plan to travel to Cuba in March, back to Quebec City for more immersion classes mid-year and maybe Thailand next Christmas (jury is out on that) and who knows where else. I'm a last minute travel plan-maker.

Simple Christmas Tree 2017
2017 will be hard for my Dad who was just diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer, but I am happy to know I will still have him as we turn the calendar to 2017. I have the luck of knowing that our time together is limited so I can make the most of it, I am looking forward to the great times and conversations we will have in 2017.

In 2017 Kevin and I will celebrate 27 years of marriage (holy cow!) and 26 years in this house together - he is still my best friend and an amazing partner in this child-raising hobby that we share.


I have just signed up for an international book club in 2017, and a Bitch and Stitch group - (I actually hate sewing, knitting etc... but I love hanging around other women and laughing with a glass of wine) plus my French Group has decided to be a French/Theatre group (watching, not acting). Now I just need a group that plays pinochle....

In February 2017, I will have been in the mid century furniture business for 9 years - the longest career I've had (I tended to job jump every 2-3 years back in the dotcom/technology boom decade).


What a gift this job has been, I have met so many great people, shared laughs, restored some amazing furniture (which is my contribution to the world of art.) The flexibility of my work has allowed me to go to all my kids class parties, concerts, games and field trips.

I look forward to continuing in this business for another year, I have expanded into reupholstering MCM chairs and adding other cool vintage pieces to my inventory. I will be adding a new picker to the mix in January and seeing what he brings to the table.

2017 is shaping up to be a great year - even though I know life can really send some knock-down punches (like the idiot clown taking the white house - I'm still furious) , I will celebrate the anticipation of all the good things that 2017 will hold!

Thank you to all my friends / customers who have made this past year great and I look forward to seeing you in 2017!

Marla 

Hygge

I've talked about it on this blog before.

hygge (hooh-ga)


 My family loves to light candles, hang out covered with blankets on the couch, or curl up with a hot beverage ...

 


During the holiday season, I haven't found a lot of time for this type of hygge.




I've been gone from home a lot  - my Dad isn't well.

It's been sudden and unexpected.

But,

Lately I've been seeing hygge in unusal places.

Like driving the highway at night on the way home from the hospital


Or in the smallest and simplest of decorations...


But the best kind of hygge doesn't need good lighting, warmth or comfort.... it can be found in hospital halls under glaring florescents and linoleum floors.

It looks like this:


 I am blessed.

The Ditch Dance



Snow, snow, snow!

I had big plans today - my garage is so packed that I am using the front room in my house to store the overload. It all needs to be sorted and posted, but it snowed!

So instead of working today, I did my happy Ditch Dance!



I ditched sorting the furniture, gluing drawers, tightening screws, changing hardware, instead I went with Kevin for a long bundled-up walk in fresh powder from our house to Washington Park!
 
I ditched pulling out and polishing up furniture in the 3 degree weather and taking photos, instead I went to breakfast with Kevin at Luciles! (yeah, no wait!!)

I ditched cropping and sorting my photos and posting them on craigslist and instead watched "A Man Called Ove." 

I ditched my end of year paperwork, spreadsheets and tax reporting, instead I made Chili and hot chocolate!



The best part of working for myself is when I can do the Ditch Dance!

The worst part is that today I am more behind than before and must brave the cold, catch up on paperwork and exercise to reduce the effects of Pain Perdu with cinnamon maple syrup....

Totally worth it!

See you soon

Moving Slowly....

Spent a nice Thanksgiving holiday with my brother-in-law and his family in Kansas - now we are back and I have to get my act together for the next holiday.

Suffering a serious depression over national politics - but I have been on a news "fast", since the idiot-clown was elected and that has helped. Avoiding all news won't change the stupidity of this nation, but it helps me cope and not fall into a daily heavy depression.

I'm normally an upbeat person, but this past year of chaos and meanness has really taken a toll. I will concentrate on being happy that I am in a state with a majority of like-minded individuals who aren't morons. Thank you Colorado!

(I can't be neutral, not even for business, if you don't like my politics, don't buy from me. Go pay more from someone else. I'm good with that! It's a small revenge but I'm at peace with it.)

I will be posting a lot of furniture for the next three weeks, before my kids are on Xmas break - then I go pretty quiet through the New Year.

Okay - let's talk furniture.... another MCM flashback!

Have you seen this before?

I call them "Petite Mid Century Bookshelves."

There are a lot of them.

From what I can gather, they were bookcases for encyclopedia sets.

I'm not sure if they were provided by the encyclopedia companies or if they were after market items but there are so many of these little shelves that I have to guess they were included in the set.







I'm not seeing as many as I used to - they are such great little bookshelves that you can stick anywhere - I used to have two in my house, but in my effort to declutter, I have donated most of my books (only keep the ones I am currently reading) and so I got rid of the shelves.

If you see one, grab it! They are now very trendy to re-purpose as magazine racks!

 

Flashback Mid Century Modern

As I have mentioned, I have handled / sold over 6000 pieces of mid century furniture since 2008 - so many amazing items have passed through my hands that occasionally I like to pull one out and "remember" it.

I forget the origin of most items that I buy and sell, but a few stay locked in my brain and have a story that tags along.



Right now I have the companion tall dresser available that matches the low dresser above. I remember the above dresser well and the first time I saw it, maybe 6 years ago.
 My kids used to go to a school near Colorado Blvd and Evans. Every Friday morning I would volunteer at the school to make copies for the teachers.

Available as of 10/30/2016
(FYI: when you have mediocre/struggling students, it helps the teachers to feel more compassion towards your child if you volunteer and help the teacher out by doing mundane tasks, like copying....or spelling book corrections - granted you feel like blowing your brain out after 45 spelling book checks, but that is the price you must pay.)

After 3 hours of spelling book corrections for 5th graders, I was always brain dead and exhausted.

There used to be a little used furniture shop run by the Moonies and housed near the school. Occasionally, I would drop in after my volunteer marathons and see what they had.

On that particular day, I popped in and saw the dresser shown above. The front looked dry and neglected, the top was covered in rings and worn spots but I remember being elated just seeing the dresser, its potential, and its uniqueness.


I bought it and was so excited that I refinished it that day ( it was hours and hours of work but a labor of love)  and had it posted by that night. It sold the next morning.


I was happy and sad - I just loved the dresser (no maker's name) - I had it for less than 24 hours - it's weird how I can remember the details of that dresser and yet forget what I sold yesterday.

The mind is a funny thing.

Chairs are Multiplying


Our Inspiration #1 Similar to a Chair I have onhand
I'm not sure if there is something in the air or just one of those funny coincidences that can't be explained, but I am encountering mid-century chairs every time I turn around.

Normally, I only take the ones that are in MINT condition, exceptionally clean and ready to sell. However, I ran across a few that were too cool to pass up even though the fabric was beyond repair.

Two summers ago, I took a summer upholstery class through the Emily Griffith Technical School. I recovered two chairs. I had a blast. However, my hands stayed swollen for weeks.

As I have griped about before, I have a mild arthritis in my hands from all those years of sanding (Public Service Announcement: after sitting at a desk for most of your career, don't start a physical, labor intensive career at the age of 40 - you will end up with arthritis!)
Our Inspiration #2 but the fabric is too "loud" for our tastes
Obviously, I stopped recovering chairs.

Recently, through a friend of a friend, I met someone who reupholsters as a hobby. She has a full-time job so it will be very part-time, but we have decided to work together to reupholster some great vintage items. I pick the chairs and upholstery, she does the labor and then I sell them.

Inspiration #3
It's great news for all you collectors out there. We will still keep prices as low as we can - but selling a completely refurbished MCM chair has a lot of costs associated with it.

We will run a test program of two chairs and see if there is a market -- both chairs should be ready by mid to late November!

We are excited and hope you will be too!

Meet Your Personal Craftsman

What a great Summer / Fall! My blog has been neglected because....I have been traveling as much as possible and spending time with my family outdoors on these last few days of our Indian Summer!

I have no more trips planned until March (maybe Cuba?) so I have a few months to really focus back on furniture.

Even with my trips, I still try to post 5-10 new items each week, but I suspect next week will be a little busier because when I looked out in backyard this morning, I saw this:


It's been a while since my backyard looked like we were moving.

My oldest, he just turned 18 and is a senior in high school. He is also in desperate need of $$. It's hard with his soccer schedule to have a part-time job, although he has done it in the past. To help him out (which also helps me out), I have been buying more items that need to be completely sanded down and refinished.

He is on Fall Break from school and working like crazy over the next 5 days. He needs to earn enough to keep him and his girlfriend in gas money and feed their Coldstone Ice Cream addiction for another month - then he will have about 6 weeks free to work between the ending of his high school soccer team and start of his club team.

Needless to say, I will have a ton of furniture available next week -- the back yard represents one day of his work and there are 4 more days ahead.

I also just got his senior pictures proofs (the one below is a screen shot from my phone) - its hard to decide which ones we like best.


That said, over the next week or two, any item you buy will have been refinished by this craftsman - he's amazingly detailed and really takes his time (he's better than I am in that regard I hate to admit) -

He's been doing this off and on for a few years and I couldn't be prouder -- I'm in that middle place where I am so happy to see how grown-up and responsible he has become and heartbroken that he is getting ready to launch. I'm happy for him and sad for me.

Don't believe the hype about lazy millennials - if I had his schedule of advanced classes with mountains of homework, soccer practice/games everyday, working for all his $$ because we don't believe in allowance, and a girlfriend that he spends every free second with -- I would collapse from exhaustion.

Enjoy his work!  - I'm one proud Momma!


Back To Work


As you can see from all my new postings, I am back to work. My internal clock from international travel has not changed and so I am writing this at 3:30a.m.

By noon I will have lived a full day and be ready for bed - its a pain but the trip was totally worth it - such a great time, I had my family all together with no one running off to their own events which was just as wonderful to me as the sights of Rome, Paris and London.

Dillon, Me, Izzy, Kevin, Dane and Keaton (Dillon's petite amie)

Some things changed in July, the most important being, I lost my extra storage garage which held my 30+ item back-log. Now I have one garage that holds about 12-15 items. I can't buy anymore until what I have sells, so this will change how I do things a bit. I will take it week by week and see what happens.

It feels good to be back, but I'm sad to see summer come to an end (summer school break that is) and have only 2 weeks before I lose the kids back to the structure and tyranny of school schedules - sports schedules - dinner schedules and that evil, tortuous beast called homework! ARGGHH!

See You Soon!  Marla

Love My Buyers...

An idea of what is coming....
So...I had some past customers who were buying from me in the early days -- 2008, 2009, etc.... when they were pregnant with their first baby. They bought some cool MCM items including Sculptra Dressers, a Brasilia Dining Set and a 1960s awesome stereo console.

I heard from them this past week, they are divesting of their MCM items and moving to a farm.

Normally, I don't buy from past customers because I can't pay the market value and then fix up and resell them....but they gave me an offer I couldn't refuse.

So...I rented a Home Depo giant van and went to Meade, CO last week and bought 3 dressers, a stereo and a dining set.

The crazy part was to see how their family has grown and changed, they have a child in elementary school and another boy who is four - I think they said they have moved twice (they started in Wheatridge) and are now building a new home on a family-owned farm.

Wow! I forgot how quickly life can change in 8-9 years....

I will get the items refinished and posted after my family's trip to Europe (Woo Hoo, we leave Friday!) -- we will be back on August 8 -- now we all have something to look forward to!


My nieces and nephews will be staying at my house -- be sure to stop by and join the party, but don't break anything!!

Summer Vacation


Has it really been almost two months since I last posted?

I have been in and out, working then not working, tackling projects, juggling end of school-year events and, as always ....chasing teenagers.

I have purposefully slowed down my life these past two months -- doing the required essentials of life and then taking long breaks, reading, walking, thinking....

For the past eight years, I have been going full speed and -- I have enjoyed it.

As I inch in on 49, everything within me has been begging to slow down. Not stop - but set a different pace - one where I'm not in a perpetual rush.

The next 8 weeks are a little scattered, I will only be home for about half of them so furniture will be posted when I'm around to show it.

Have a great summer and see you soon- Marla


Lantern Festival 4/24/2016 - Dacona Race Track

I was so looking forward to this event out at the Dacona Race Track - and a bit anxious that there would be too much wind or rain - but last night was perfect.

It was crowded and long traffic lines, long entrance lines, a long boring wait, --
and YET...absolutely WORTH IT -

I was so mesmerized that I couldn't even get to my lantern until most of the lanterns were in the air - it was hard to look away for even a second.




Kevin and his lantern

Me and My Lantern - harder to launch than you might think


Back to Work


The week before I left:
My week in Laguna

Sand Snowman on Laguna Beach
Yes. I'm sad to be back.

Spring Break


Tomorrow we head to Laguna Beach  for Spring Break sans the husband who at the last minute got buried with work and decided to stay home....boo!




I will see you next weekend!
Thanks
Marla

I Did it!

If you read this blog, you know that I talk and talk about the 30+ items I have in my garages that I never get too....well...

I got 26 of those bad boys posted in 3 days!

I have 5 that didn't make the cut -- I need my "guy-that-sands" to come back for another day of work and then I will have my back log posted!

I had to use the good weather to my advantage before I drop into a depression with the snow that's coming -

I also junked a few pieces that I will never get too - I love cleaning out the garages, I'm now getting into Spring-Mode!




.......................My writing of this post was interrupted by a picker who brought three new things - two are Mid Century.


I'm back at 8 un-posted items and by Saturday I will be at 15 with a new truckload on its way from the western slope but still....I'm back to work! I have to celebrate the small victories when I can!

Snowman I made Thursday 3/17
Snowman Today 3/22/2016


UPDATE - Izyy in yard today 3/23/2016

MIA in March


Did you notice that I was MIA?

Where have I been this week?

  • Shivering,
  • At lunches,
  • Planning Spring Break activities,
  • Visiting my brother-in-law's family who was in town for a day,
  • Taking baths (three in all),
  • On long walks (over 10 miles this week)
I didn't know I was taking the week off, but that is what happened.

So, I have exactly one week to get furniture posted and sold and make room for another truck load on Saturday.  On Easter I fly to Laguna Beach for Spring Break with the kids.

I KNOW I will get emails telling me not to post vacation plans, but sadly it won't matter. Kevin can't come with us and he works at home too, so he will be holding down the fort.

March is a month that I dread. I usually plan my physical and emotional break-downs for March, because even if I don't plan them, they happen.

I thought I was doing okay and then, BLAM, on Monday I planted my butt on the couch and my work ethic evaporated.

Maybe it's the warmth followed by cold, or the hope of Spring shot down with a snow storm, or just the effing wind that saps my strength and holds me hostage.

It used to frustrate me that I would collapse in March, but now I understand that March must be endured.

All that to say, I will be posting about twenty new items when the snow stops and when the caffeine I am currently chugging kicks in...

See you soon!

My Corner of the World


Furniture can be like a pet, after a while you start to look alike.

I have a corner on the couch where I sit with a mcm lamp, acrylic end table and then all my paraphernalia thrown in.

Even when I'm not sitting there catching up on paperwork, emails and projects, it still looks like me.

It has been my cozy winter nest that I look forward to transferring out to the patio where I make my summer nesting spot.

Yesterday I had my tea out on the patio for the first time this year....the change is coming

See you soon!

Detour

I had an interesting week - it seems all my suppliers have raised their prices for mid century furniture about 200% -- that is for items that need to be refinished!

One of my pickers, completely flaked out on me, --we agreed on a price, then he backed out thinking he could get more -- he stopped returning calls and then came back and tried to raise the prices, even though he had no other offers. I have been doing business with this guy for a long, long time, helped him out many times. Instead of battling it out, I stopped returning his texts.

It's not the first time he has backed out of an agreed upon deal. I think I'm done with him, which means a source is gone, he was an annoying source, but a source.

I am all for the little guy making the best of what he has, but when I'm offered a mcm dresser for a stupidly high price --keep in mind that they need to be completely refinished, usually have chips and are only average in the coolness department -- I balk.

That means I would have to sell it for at least $500 to make any profit after all the time, refinishing and products are put into it. No Thanks.

Instead of paying extortion-like prices, I bought a truckload of furniture from another guy that has a few cool pieces in it, but was mostly normal furniture. Then, I spent the rest of the week in a panic, not sure what to do with all these new things that are not antiques, vintage or mid century.

They are still sitting in my garage. I have no expertise in refinishing these types of pieces so my anger and irritation came back on me and bit me in the ankle.

Then, I went out for a day, to pick for myself, and it was a disaster.

So I came home and started the Nexflix series, Season 4 of House of Cards.  I'm on episode 8.

That was my week......


Typos Happne


Meet be garage
see your spoon
thanks mama : )

Yes - that was an actual text I sent this week. I am the queen of typos but this takes the cake. I dictate 99% of all my texts -  and this is how bad it can go.

In my defense, the radio was on, but both hands were on the wheel and I was dictating a reply after Siri read me my latest text. What I tried to say was:

Meet me at my garage
See you soon
Thanks Marla

 So, when you get a text from me that says:

Would you like to see me?
What sign?
Tanks Mama

 What I mean is:

Would you like to see it?
What time? 
Thanks, Marla


I have officially become one of the weirdos on Craigslist...

See your spoon,


Marla

Pickers Rock!!


 
My favorite Picker - Pat - dropped off some cool Mid Century furniture yesterday - as he was leaving, he asked if I wore western boots...it just so happens that I have been trying on Old Gringos for the past few months, but they are all too tight and about $500.

He pulled out these brand new Corrals and said, "$50"

Now I have new boots and an Eames Chair - Life is Good.

The Family Closet

I heard from several people when I wrote about Minimalism vs. Mid Century Modern and how they are not the same thing.

(http://lookingindrawers.blogspot.com/2016/01/minimalism-vs-mcm.html) -

It seems many people are attracted to the "openness"  that is created with the Mid Century Style of decorating.

They feel the two styles DO go hand-in-hand....

SIDE NOTE: In the 1960's when this furniture was the rage - it didn't really look "open" -

Remember flocked wallpaper and busy prints were all the rage too - most ads from that time look cluttered.

I think the way the furniture is used today looks much better. The artistry in the items is showcased with fewer pieces, wood floors and simpler accent colors.

That said -- one of the funny emails I got about the minimalism post was from a lady in Florida who also saw my post about my 10 x 10 bedroom. My bedroom only has a bed and two floating shelves and no other furniture.

(http://lookingindrawers.blogspot.com/2015/12/mixing-mid-century-with-modern.html) 

Her comment was about my bedroom and minimalism - specifically without any other furniture in the room, she wondered, "Where are your clothes?"

That is a legitimate question.


I will answer it. You are about to find out what a whack-job I really am.

About twelve years ago I invented something called,  
"The Family Closet."

So I just took a break and Googled "Family Closet" - turns out I did not invent it, but I thought I did.

It was interesting to see how many other whack-jobs are out there.

Our house, built in 1892, has 1680 square feet. Each room has a closet, but none of them are deep enough for hangers, they are tiny, tiny closets.

There are 5 of us in this small house and one day I realized that too much of my life was spent lugging clean clothes upstairs and dirty clothes downstairs in addition to picking up clothes from the floor in all the bedrooms and bathrooms.

I spent a stupid amount of time organizing all the dressers and they still ended up cluttered and jam-packed. So I invented a family closest out of laziness.

Our "basement" is really an old dugout cellar with super low ceilings, but its where we keep the washer and dryer.

I threw a carpet remnant on the floor of the cellar, hung rods on both sides of the little room, gave each family member a spot and moved all the clothing to the basement.

There is one dresser in the room with five drawers. We each get one drawer for socks and small things.

The clothes never leave that room unless they are on our backs. We all change clothes in that room - but not at the same time.
My DREAM Family Closet

We don't set rules about it, I have three teens now and its evolved naturally, they each spend a few minutes alone down there and then the next one goes down. Its all they have ever known and they think its perfectly normal.

If something comes up and someone has to head down unexpectedly, they always call out, "Okay if I come down?" Kids fight about everything, but the family closet has never been an issue.

We never have clothes on the floor, the kids never have clothes in their rooms, I have not organized a dresser in over a decade. (I let their individual drawer be messy - its out of sight and doesn't bother me.)

Sometimes, many times, it looks like WWIII has hit the shared closet and that becomes "family time" when we all head down and tackle the closet.

Yet, it is a focused messy place and not spread through the house. No guests ever go down there so it really doesn't matter how it looks - its amazingly functional.

My minimalist guru once said to me, "Even the most organized people have one messy spot."

The family closet is our spot.


DISCLAIMER: When I said I was posting pictures of the Family Closet - my kids barked at me - they didn't want photos of their clothes on my blog.  

What? Really? Whatever...the photos above are similar to what our family closet looks like......keep in mind these kids Instagram their every burp...but the privacy of their clothes!! has been protected....