Category Archives: vintage

Christmas Coke

 As long as we’re breaking out the Christmas decorations this week, I thought I’d share our almost-DIY holiday project.


It’s no secret that my boyfriend has a major Coca-Cola crush. So major that it actually inspired this summer’s Southern sojourn, which included a stop at Coke headquarters in Atlanta in addition to the mentioned Nashville and Asheville. Some kids have bedrooms painted with puffy clouds or zoo animals; the walls of Paul’s childhood room were covered in red and white Coca-Cola wallpaper (yes, there is such a thing).

 So when we came across a dusty collection of his family’s old National Geographic magazines, we had to check the back pages for cool retro Coke ads. And these three Santas from 1956, ’60 and ’62 just begged to be framed.


We carefully removed the ads from the magazines, but that’s where the DIY ended. Since we had a 60 percent off coupon for Michael’s – and since the framer at our store is pretty talented – we opted to have them professionally done. But we probably could have achieved a very similar look ourselves with some basic black frames and matting.

 I think the end result is more subtle and cozy than your generic store-bought snow globes, reindeer, or even Coca-Cola merch, but still manages to feel extremely Christmas-y.


Unfortunately, I had a heck of a time getting a photo with decent lighting. This time of year, we only get sun in the living room from 5 to 7 a.m – and the new light fixture that was supposed to arrive Nov. 1 has been backordered twice, finally convincing us to cancel our order this afternoon. It’s back to the drawing board on that one, I guess.

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Filed under christmas, Holidays, interiors, retro, vintage, winter

Making a List, Checking It Twice

I’m such a hypocrite when it comes to Christmas shopping. I curse the premature holiday displays, but find myself browsing them before November. I shake my fist at store speakers blaring Christmas music, then go right home and put holiday tunes on Pandora. Sigh.

So it should come as no surprise that I’m already browsing potential holiday gifts and goodies to give and get.

Maybe I can’t afford one of these amazing houses for Christmas. But surely I can manage one of these.

Or, in keeping with my current letterpress obsession, some of these. You’ve got to admit, they’re a lot quirkier than your standard snow village.

Though most of the year I stick to natural colors and wood tones, something about the holidays makes me crazy for rainbow brights. The saturated hues on these picture frames turn what would otherwise be a basic gift into a statement piece.

Or how about a brightly-colored custom plate? This tree-trimming version is cute, but there are other holiday – and non-holiday – silhouettes and shades to choose from.

Personally, I’m thinking about buying these kitschy retro napkins for my parents’ newly remodeled kitchen.

As for my own retro kitchen, I’ve been coveting these shiny Sur La Table tumblers and sundae bowls for quite some time now. They remind me of the aluminum glasses we always used at my grandparents’ house.

When it comes to holiday decorating, I have this ridiculously anal rule about using only vintage-style ornaments – our tree  typically features just  glass and lights, with no crafty felt ornaments or whirligigs in sight. Basically, if Charlie Brown wouldn’t have put it on his tree, I don’t want it. (I think I was brainwashed by Mom and Dad, hardcore blown-glass ornament enthusiasts who only grudgingly put up the pieces we made at school with glitter and popsicle sticks for a few years before packing them away for good with our other sub-par school crafts.)

Fortunately for folks like me, Anthropologie is making it easy this year.

The best part about being an early bird list-maker is that I don’t usually have to scramble to get my shopping done at the last minute. The worst part? With so much time left until Christmas, my list usually keeps growing…this is just the beginning.

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Filed under Holidays, old houses, retro, vintage

Fine Print

My plan this week was to chronicle Arts & Crafts San Francisco, the city’s annual sale of all things bungalow style. But after staying up past 3 a.m. the night before (my boyfriend’s band had a late gig) we just couldn’t convince ourselves to tackle an early 2-1/2 hour trek on a crowded freeway.

I’m sorry to have missed the chance to photograph all the handcrafted furniture, the pottery, the Native American art – but I’m most bummed about missing Yoshiko Yamamoto.

Colvos Passage Sunrise

Yamamoto hand carves her Japanese-influenced arts and crafts designs into wood and linoleum blocks, then prints the images on letterpress. The results are the most simple but stunning scenes of animals, botanicals and landscapes.

Here’s Autumn Leaves, a small print I picked up at the show last year (I promise it looks much better in real life).

And the pair of circle prints I got a few Christmases ago.

From cute little mice to moody ravens, I can’t wait to add another of her nature prints to my collection.

Mice - Yamamoto

Early Spring - Yamamoto

 Or 0ne the landscapes that seem to capture California’s rolling hills, oak groves and late afternoon light effortlessly.

Evening Oak - Yamamoto

Speaking of arts and crafts-inspired prints that features my favorite places, is anyone else smitten with Ranger Doug’s line of reproduction WPA National Park posters?


I’m really digging the vintage colors schemes. I’ve got a 2010 WPA poster art planner/calendar, and I’m thinking of tearing out the best 8 by 6 cards (I think there are about 37 in all) and framing them for some cheap wall art. Now I’ve just got to figure out where to put them.


Filed under art, interiors, retro, vintage

Freshly minted

I’ve heard of color schemes inspired by nature. And my favorite paint colors seem to unconsciously mimic foods (my plans for a light golden wheat kitchen somehow turned into banana cream pie – or lemon bar, I’m not sure which). 

 But I love the muse of the homeowner featured in this month’s Better Homes and Gardens – a mint green 1930s shake mixer. 

Image from Better Homes and Gardens

You know how that creamy Jadite color looks so at home on the shelves of a vintage kitchen? It also looks great on the walls, tiles and wainscoting – especially when coupled with cool, crisp white.

Image from Better Homes and Gardens

It makes sense to incorporate the shade of something you know and love into your home’s decor, whether it’s part of your antiques collection, your wardrobe or even your most-used household appliance. 

Come to think of it, my bright yellow walls do kinda match my KitchenAid mixer. 

Anyone else ever matched your color palette to something specific?


Filed under design, interiors, kitchens, vintage

In A New Light

When it comes to decorating, I’ve always been a bit country-phobic. My motto? If it looks like it belongs in a log cabin, then it belongs in a log cabin. If it looks like it belongs on a farm…well, you get the picture. There are no cow or chicken motifs or excessive plaid allowed in my house.

Image from Country Living

But since I’ve started playing around with mixing different styles – vintage and modern, industrial and feminine, for instance – I’m starting to soften my standpoint (though I’m not budging on the cows and chickens).

Take lighting, for example. I’m a longtime fan of traditional schoolhouse lights, like the lovely Schoolhouse Electric lamps that brighten up our house (and this pretty kitchen in the Schoolhouse Electric catalog).

Image from Schoolhouse Electric

And the classic, elegant fixtures at Rejuvenation (modeled by yet another cute kitchen).

Image from Rejuvenation

But lately, dreams of warm weather and the accompanying farmers’ markets, barbecues and picnics have opened my mind to things a bit more rustic and farm-inspired – like Barn Light Electric.

Image from Barn Light Electric

Image from Barn Light Electric

Think of barn lights as the country cousin to the schoolhouse variety. These guys feature exposed bulbs, sleek metal and the occasional bright, country-inspired paint palette – perfect for the patio (where I would likely place them) but also appropriate for a farmhouse kitchen.

Image from Barn Light Electric

Image from Barn Light Electric

That’s not all. Barn Light Electric also has a blog that offers inspiration and advice for developing all kinds of hybrid styles – like “vintage industrial” or “retro country” (note the obligatory chickens).

Image from Barn Light Electric

Not feeling the whole farm thing? That’s OK – they even offer their own take on the classic schoolhouse pendant, among other styles.

Image from Barn Light Electric

A company slogan – “where vintage and modern collide” – says it all.


Filed under exteriors, interiors, vintage