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,


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.


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....

The Best Stalkers EVER!

I got an email yesterday..... from a lady in Florida who reads this blog. She said she is "one of my stalkers," and I love to hear that.

One of my favorite things is when I meet someone new who says, "I've been stalking you for years......"

It happens about once a week, sometimes more.

I have about 6000 photos of mid century furniture on my main blog that have all been indexed into Google and other search engines (I didn't do that on purpose, it's what happens on blogs that have been around for many, many years).

So whenever you search for a specific item of mcm furniture in Google, one of my sold dressers is usually in the top ten photos.

From those old photos, I get a lot of readers and self-professed "stalkers" -- I love these stalkers -- I stalk many blogs myself.

From that indexing, I get about ten thousand hits a month on my main blog.

Whenever I tell someone that, the first thing they say is...you should "monetize" your blog.

I reply, "It is monetized. I sell furniture."

Obviously, I know what they really mean, but adding "advertising" to my blog/s would make me crazy. Then, I get the "passive income" talk from these kind souls and that's when I zone out, smile and nod and say, "I'll have to look into that."

Things I should do:

                              1.  Look into making money on my blogs
                              2.  Lose 10 pounds (probably more, but I'd be happy with ten)
                              3.  Stop eating out so much - that would probably solve #2
                              4.  Get my teeth whitened, take up jogging, do yoga and meditate
                              5.  Stop buying more furniture until I get my 30+ items in my two
                                   garages fixed up and sold

Just for the record - There is zero chance of me doing anything in the above list.

Occasionally, I look at my blog stats - but, it never makes me think:

"Hmmm....I need to make money off those stalkers."

It always makes me think....

"Crap, what have I been saying on my blog and do I want people to know that much about me and my family...."

When I write these posts, I don't really think about the readers...I just record my thoughts or say something I have been wanting to explain so I can send the links to people who email me with questions like, "Is it solid wood" or "What is this item worth."

Anyway, this post has completely lost focus...I was going to write about what the lady in Florida asked about... and somehow I have ended here.

I will save her question for the next entry....

Also, later this week I will show how to get water stains out of wood furniture - I have been working on the dresser with the big water spot shown in a previous post.

SPOILER ALERT - all the tutorials on the web about how to get out waters stains are wrong...

See you soon,


Text Me Please...

The other day I heard a voice talking in my oldest son's room.

I knew he was alone in there so I knocked on the door and opened it.


Why is that in all caps? Because he NEVER talks on the phone - he's a junior in High School and this was the first time I heard him actually talk to a friend on the phone.

He informed me, as though talking-on-the-phone was a new thing he invented, that it is easier to talk than text with his girlfriend. Apparently, talking on the phone is a "new" thing to the kids and, according to him, so much more efficient.

I disagree.

Even when I had to use the small keypads on the old flip phones, I embraced texting technology whole-heartily. It is so freeing from the polite chit chat and required formalities that talking on the phone requires.

I was talking with Mid Century Mike the other day (he's is awesome - we do the same sort of business - if you haven't been to his place you should go see his stuff - http://www.midcenturymike.com/) - we've been friends for years - and he agrees with my son.

When he sets appointments for people to see his furniture, he prefers to talk with them on the phone first.

I'm exactly the opposite - unless you are my sister, mother, kid or husband, I'm not picking up the phone. In fact, I'm really sorry about this, I rarely return voice mail. Primarily because I forget it's there and rarely check it.

Email and text both come to my phone and I'm lightening-fast at responding - or at least 95% of the time I'm fast at responding, but sometimes my non-working life takes me away from the phone and I can be a little slow to answer.

But really...Text and email is the ONLY way to reach me and the BEST way to reach me.

If calling on the phone becomes the "New Cool" thing for the new hipsters, then, sadly, I will be one of those old people still using that old-fashioned thing called texting....

Review - Peg Legs Are In!

The legs came in today - very strong and sturdy - all wood with a walnut stain.

They are pre-threaded with the metal screws (which will need to be cut down) but for $20 - they are great!

The largest size is 6" - I wish they had 9 or 10 inches legs but...they are nice legs and they arrived in 5 days!

The hunt is over - Yay!

The Elusive Peg Leg

I have been on the hunt for those elusive peg legs...I need 12 and so far have only found 4.

Most dressers already have legs when I get them, but four came in with no legs - weird, right?

I have been to every thrift shop, junk shop, and pickers-hidey-hole for the last two weeks and that was the best I could do.

High end Legs
I actually found some really cool stuff these past weeks while hunting for vintage peg legs and now I have added to my over-flowing garage, but I only have enough legs for one dresser.

What I like to do, is buy an old 60s laminate shelf or nightstand in bad repair, and take the legs. Then, I "recycle"  the rest of the piece by putting it in the alley (usually gone within a few hours).

Sometimes the junkiest pieces have the best legs.

For the first time, I have been defeated in my search.

There are peg legs all over the internet but they cost a minimum of $60 for 4 which jacks up the price significantly.

If I had a Kent Coffey Perspecta, then sure, a $60 add on is fine, but what I have are dressers that are really cool, but if I want to keep the cost to the buyer between $200 and $300 then I need legs for under $20.

The legs on ebay
I feel strongly about not ripping people off and charging crazy prices. It bothers me that costs have gone up so much that my prices are higher than they used to be.

So to keep prices low, I have to find a new source.

There are these cheap looking legs that are always on ebay - from Wholesale Upholstery Supplies.

I can get 4 for $20 which includes shipping but I have always been hesitant to try them.

I finally broke this morning and took a chance.

Maybe they will be amazing - Maybe they will fold like balsa wood.

I will let you know how they turn out --

See you soon


To Clear Up Some Confusion....

What is my "Real" Name?

It's Marla.

It's a weird name, what makes it even more complicated is that a few of you know me as "Kat."

I haven't used that name in a long, long time - it's a work name - made up strictly for my convenience and now its become a bit of a suspicious moniker.

It began about six years ago - if you've read my post, "How to Get a Mid Century Dresser for under $100"  - then you know I used to buy a lot of MCM items in terrible condition off Craigslist and refinish them.

When I first began buying off Craigslist, I would get emails that confused me. I was also selling items and many times I would respond to an email inappropriately with a comment like, "Would you like to set a time to see it?" to someone who was selling an item.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark...

Other times I would write, "When can I come take a look?" to someone who wanted to see something I had for sale. It happened a lot.

I thought I could fix that mix-up by adding a new gmail account. I had no idea what to call it and at that moment I was reading about Kathmandu so Katmandu became the email name. (Yes, I know, I spelled it wrong - I am the Typo Queen!)

It worked well until I started using my phone to read and answer my mail - on my phone the emails were all dumped into the same inbox and I couldn't always tell which was which. I got another brilliant idea, I would sign all my "buying" emails with the name Kat (Katmandu) - it made sense.

Many times people would write back and say, "Hi Kat" and then I knew it was an email from someone I was buying from...it worked well and it didn't matter if the people I was buying from thought my name was Kat - I would never see them again!

That went on for a long time and then I stopped buying off Craigslist for the most part. The prices for things that needed to be refinished got too high and by then I was getting plenty of items from my pickers so it just naturally came to a close.

Occasionally I get people who come over to buy something or emails that say, "I thought your name was Kat." Either I had purchased something from them in the past or from a friend of theirs - its not a big deal but it makes me look like I'm acting "fishy" --

 And then there was yesterday.

On Saturday my house was empty. The oldest boy was with his girlfriend all day and my husband had taken the other two to a High School basketball game. With all the sickness around here, I hadn't worked on furniture in a while so I stayed home to "work"....

After about an hour on "Youtube," another hour playing around on Netflix and generally killing time I decided to get-to-it, but I didn't want to leave the couch. So, I switched over to surfing Craigslist. 

In a few minutes I found two MCM dressers for under $100 (I told you its possible!) that needed to be refinished. It's much easier to go get furniture and call it "working" than to actually pull out one of the thirty items I already have in the garage and work on it.

I used my old Katmandu email. Both people I purchased from called me "Kat" but then asked if I was "msk" on Craigslist. I have been doing this a long time and it turns out most MCM collectors know me or know who I am.

It got a bit awkward because it was hard to explain the names Marla and Kat....either way I end up looking like either a criminal with an alias, which would be kinda cool, or a full-on-flakey-weirdo, which is what I think actually happened.

The name Kat has officially retired. 

The Joy of Having a Shoe Box

With all this snow and cold... boots, books, and blankets seem to ooze out all over the place.

Clutter makes the walls feel like they are closing in and drives me to start reorganizing my closest to hold all the extra winter gear.

In the last 30 years, I have read what feels like a hundred books about Simplicity and Storage Ideas.

It turns out there are essentially two schools of thought about having storage:

1. If you need more storage in your house, you have too much stuff.

Clever Idea
 2. Small space living just requires creative storage ideas.

By now, if you read this blog, you know where I stand.

That said, there have been too many mornings when I am frantically searching for a Shoe Box that one of my kids need for a school project - I can be heard screaming,

"Who keeps extra shoe boxes around their house!"

Another common phrase of mine is: 

Looks great but I bet they have no coffee maker

"Oh that?   
(Name of missing item here such as a coffee maker) -... we lost that in
 the Great Purge of  '08."

Obviously, there is a down-side to purging - items you rarely need, you never have them when you need them.

I think I found a happy medium. 

Last summer I read the book, "Tidying Up" - its not a "how-to" book but a very short philosophical book with practical advice. 

The essence of the book is to keep anything you really, really love. If you love it, find a space for it.

Which is why, as I reordered my closet storage this morning, trying to pack away hats, boots, gloves, and goggles -  I also kept an extra shoe box, two poster boards, markers, glitter and a coffee maker.

I don't love these things, but I love having them when my daughter informs me at 9 pm that she has a diorama due the next day - or when a guest in our home would like a cup of coffee.....

It sounds like a little thing.... but it's the little things that bring the most joy.

Stay warm....