June 30, 2010
This super cool blog belongs to this super cool artist who's work is a garish mixture reminiscent of "Big Daddy" Ed Roth, tiki/totems, and old monster magazines. He offers everything on site for sale, and at reasonable prices too! How much cooler can you get than that???
They say good things happen in bunches. Finally. The mail truck stopped at the curb, the doorbell rang, and the postman cheerfully handed me a big cardboard box. Hooray! Today's Sputnik Light Day! Thankfully the light arrived all in one piece - no bent or broken arms or any unmentioned problems (unlike most of the vintage Sputniks I've seen on eBay in the recent past). Even the gold finish looks good like it appeared in the dealer photos. The wiring looks to be in good condition too, but as with any out-dated cloth wrapped wiring it ideally should be replaced by a licensed electrician.
Overall I think I got lucky, considering things with the dealer didn't work out so well. I can finally breath again. And I'm pinching myself. A longtime Sputnik light dream has become a reality!
Did you know, that the famous atomic (space age, Eames-era) Sputnik light (ceiling, pendant, lightolier) was originally designed by Paul de Haan in the late 50's, taking it's inspiration from the Brussles "Automium" and the world's first satellite "Sputnik?"
On October 4, 1957, the Russians launched the world's first space satellite. The satellite, named "Sputnik 1" was a metal sphere with a diameter of 58 cm, a weight of 83.6 kg and 4 protruding antennae. The news broke all around the world like a bombshell. It was "the beginning of the space age".
And also on April 17, 1958, the World Exhibition opened in Brussels with the "Atomium", an enormous 102m high structure, as its central feature. The 9 metal spheres, each with a diameter of 18m, were linked by means of connecting tunnels 23m in length. The "Atomiun" represents a metal crystal 165 billion times its normal size. Once inside this gigantic model, visitors can use the connecting tunnels to move from one sphere to another.
Thanks to Lamplust.com for the light's historical background.
June 29, 2010
My eyes must have popped-out when they caught this atomic boomerang record album rack at my favorite hangout for the mid century style-concious. It has the hand-crafted look like it was made in shop class or someone's garage workshop, but it's all high-end styling! And look at the cool stringwork on the back rest...
Bandito the marionette wasn't spotted until I was being rung through at the checkout counter of another shop. He's now happily adding a bit of PeeWee bewilderment to Junior's abode.
So you wanna talk about pop, huh? Well you've come to the original soda pop bottle top popper kid himself :P It's practically 1 in the blessed a.m. and I can't sleep yet because our Atomic Ranch Lady got me started, so now I hafta go finish it.
Over here, in the center of the country where we lived in peace and harmony we called it pop, not soda. I try to correct Junior on this constantly because his Mother, who hails from Florida calls it soda, which is just all wrong when you're living here in the peacefully harmonious Midwest, dadgummit (if you'll please pardon my French, merci beau coup).
Now for all you POP aficionados out there who used to drink it straight down from the glass pop bottle (either clear or green-tinted) like I did (which incidentally is much more refreshing than a metallic tasting aluminum can) there's still opportunities for you to reclaim one of the original pleasures of your hopefully misspent youth.
For instance, in my local grocery stores here they sell real bottled pop (besides the "designer soda" or whatever it is that they call it to sell to people more sophisticated than I ever hope to be!). There's several flavors of Frostie available (yum!), and Sioux City Cream Soda, and in the ethnic isle there's the Mex version of Coke and Taqueria... it's very sweet! Another bonus of the Mex pops is that they are sold in the larger 12 oz. size bottle, just like the ones we drank from as kids.
I've got my ever diminishing collection of vintage pop bottles recovered from my Grandma's crawlspace basement. Why they were down there, I don't know. Except I did happen to find a few empty beer bottles of my Grampa's down there too (as well as up in the attic!) so I assume that my Grampa was umm, storing the evidence from Grandma ;D Anyhoos, I used to keep the better pop bottles in the fridge filled w/ appropriately colored water. That is until one night when the fridge got too cold and froze the bottles, which in turn made them busted bottles... Live and Learn *sigh*
Now remember, it's pronounced p-o-p, not s-o-d-a unless you happen to live in a different part of the country. But if youre gonna speak the same American language as I do then you have to use the term "pop" sans the "soda." Pop's also easier and faster to say than "that other multisyllable word" anyway, which means it'll give your mouth increased time to say more profound, thought-provoking stuff, just like I do.
So what was my favorite pop when I was a kid, you ask? My fave pop as a kid was Tru Treat, which was a lot like Squirt w/ some Mt. Dew influence. But I wasn't against experiencing the wonders of all the flavors that our super market had to offer: Dr. Pepper, Apple Beer, 7 Up, Nesbitt's, Shasta, any Root Beer, SunKist, Teem, Bubble Up, never too crazy about RC or Pepsi... But through it all, my family were diehard Coka Cola people... And I collected every pop bottle cap I laid my hands on.... And my Mom, who never really understood why kids see the real true value of such things, simply threw my pop bottle cap horde away!... And to this day I still feel the brutal pangs of a treasured horde's untimely loss.... and... I'm running off with my happy little fingers again, aren't I???
The end :D
ps. Pop bottles are the only proper launching method to use with your pop bottle rockets this Fourth of July... accept no substitutes!
Sometimes a peek of another's accomplishment can fill you with inspiration, motivation and maybe a touch of awe.
Others can just make you feel like throwing in the towel, kicking the bucket, shooting yourself and say "stop kidding yourself, you ain't ever gonna even sit in the stands of the same ballpark where the big leagues play."
This dining room, for example, does a bit of both.
June 27, 2010
This is it. This is what I would strive for if I had the option to do the kitchen back splash in any fashion I could choose. I don't even know if this example is actually vintage, but it sure looks right to me. The white flecked tile are classic mid century.
Tiles and mosaics were a very popular design element in the mid century. They moved beyond the walls of the bathroom and kitchen and became common on every day items, table tops and objets d'art (pssst... that's French for "objects of art", by the way).
According to what I've read, the 1/2-inch square ceramic tile size was seen in homes around about the early Sixties. It's use here in the photo with the 1-inch and other sizes make a mosaic eye candy pattern that's not too repetitive. The pale colors also help it to stay in the background without fighting for too much attention.
Brother Dear had made a tiled trivet in shop class back in those days. It's been in use in the kitchen every day since. I look at it, a little piece of MCM design history, and dream about having more of where these came from... it's light blue and white 1/2-inch ceramic tiles with gold flecks glittering off their surface. What I could do with a couple crate loads of those!
June 26, 2010
Space Commander can not be held responsible for any illegal activities pertaining to this post, including the illicit downloading, photo-manipulation, counterfeit printing and trading of the a fore mentioned Space Ranger inter-planetary monetary currency items illustrated above. Remember, the forgery of play money is all good fun until someone gets hurt. Thank you, and have a nice day :)
The Great American Pastime (1956)
Starring Tom Ewell, Anne Francis , Ann Miller.
*Swoooon!*... Anne Francis is in this comedy, paired up with the humorously self-deprecating Tom Ewell (from Seven Year Itch).
Husband and father Tom Ewell is volunteered to coach a beleaguered peewee little league baseball team, the Panthers. Unfortunately the new coach soon learns that in teaching his players the honorable art of good sportsmanship, that no one is happy with him; not the players, not the parents, and not even his wife (Anne Francis). As if this wasn't enough trouble, the lead pitcher's single mother (Ann Miller) leaves the luckless coach with the notion that she's got more than just baseball on her mind, with hilarious consequences to follow! It's a laugh-a-minute riot when you play The Great American Pastime!
Coolness Alert! Don't miss out on Miss Miller's swanky-sophisticated single-mom pad. Not too shabby ;)
More about Anne Francis at:
June 25, 2010
So, here's a few of mine that I've only seen illustrated in the magazines of the time. I would really love to run across these pieces... some day.
Units of three and tripods were a design element seen over and over in the modern movement. Here's a perfect compliment to go with your butterfly chair: the tripodal sling stool.
For me, I have always, always been really crazy for the mid century wrought iron stuff... and if it happens to be accented with perforated metal, all the better! Just look at those lines. My parent's old wrought iron TV stand and my butterfly chair were some of my first pieces of real furniture to be claimed as my own, and I've never gotten over my obsession with the design.
This tractor-seat stool has been high on my list too. I don't know the manufacturer, but it's got all the classic designing of the big names. It's basic, with a hint of the futuristic.
What do you like? What's that special item you always have your eye open for? I'm not talking about the obvious items, such naturals as a womb chair for example. It doesn't have to be a rare object or even particularly valuable. What is it that you hunt for that would be an expression of your personal taste? What is it that would would make your home ideal become a reality?
June 24, 2010
Sunny weather, the lake and the Little Man always make a great combination!
Hmmm, maybe I would have caught more fish if I held my rod this way? LoL
Look who made the prize catch of the day - That's mah boy!
No mailman stopped in his shiny white truck. He didn't walk up my steps bearing a large box of mid-century goodness, and there was no "ring-a-ding-ding" from the front door announcing to me that "Today was Sputnik Light Day!!!"
Instead, today (finally) the seller responded to my polite email of last Monday!
In their response they apologized for not shipping the light yet ( :P ). They explained that they were out of town and had car trouble. I get a feeling that that's an excuse, not a reason. I know people have lives of their own and stuff happens. But when you're in business for yourself you have obligations to your paying customers, even when you sell your services over eBay.
This should have been shipped off last week before the trip, shouldn't it?... or am I just goofy to think that the stated delivery time should mean something? It meant enough that I made arrangements so that I was home to accept the delivery of an expensive item.
On a quirky side note, the Seller ended their brief message by asking if it'd be okay to take out the bulbs shown in the photo because they wanted to keep these (anyway "3 or 4 are burnt out").
Just insert an *eyeroll* here... because that's just what I did ;P
From a Better Homes and Gardens book dated 1960.
Pause for a moment and look. Just look at all that headroom. Look at the wood panel ceiling. Look at the lighting. Look at that sky light. Look down and gasp at that dominating copper fireplace!
June 23, 2010
Okay, lets have the first slide - dubbed "Exhibit A"...
Look at 'em. They are quite a mess aren't they? When I picked up this pair of matching bedside lamps back in the 80's they looked pretty spiffy and bright with that spring motif from the lamp body repeated on the shade itself.
And now, after spending the past decade in storage the fiberglass has yellowed and the fiber lacing has disintegrated. What a neglectful owner I've been - Boo hoo!
I've heard rumors of a cleanser that can lighten yellowed fiberglass such as this. Would simple vinyl lacing found at the craft store fill in for new lacing?... we'll see to those later. But first we have even more eyesores to behold . . .
Next slide please... "Exhibit B"
This fiberglass lampshade found in my Grandma's attic has a different set of troubles. There's a couple of noticeable dents that just refuse to pop out and play nice.
And the final slide... "Exhibit C"
Yes, I would gasp too to see such an unsightly blemish as this. These are dirt stains from a leaky roof that have soaked underneath the fiber. Gently patting (never rub downward on fiberglass) with a damp cloth doesn't even touch this. Perhaps a soak in a warm dishwater detergent solution will help? But this shade has a paper binding, not lacing. Oh, what to do?!
I'll be offering some possible solutions (hopefully) and my own results (good or not so good) in upcoming weeks... or maybe longer if the Judge decides to throw the book at me =O
But first I'd like to know what YOU have tried and found works best for your own fiberglass shade woes. Please feel free to leave your comments right here and share your lampshade restoration knowledge for Everyone to learn from!
=== repost of comments ===
Wedgewood Tulsa mentioned I might try ironing the dents out of my crushed lampshade. Use a towel over the fiberglass and between the iron, of course. But I'm not sure if that will work on fiberglass still mounted on the frame in the conical shape?
The metal frame looks bent on mine as well. Ugh.
Let me know if you found lacing that isn't that shiny bright plastic. Maybe go to Tandy Leather (are they still in biz?) or let me know what you use, because I need some of that, too. =O
Hope you get some answers, or can find the fixes to share with us!
Space Commander said...
I'm sure there's plenty of people who'd like some help, including me! I heard the ironing/blow dryer method works for plastic, I think I'll try it on my one shade if nothing else works.. Thanks :) Wish I was close by you, I can prolly fix the frame.
Tandy Leather still exists, but no longer locally around here. They offer a mail order catalog. Here's the lacing: http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/home/department/Lacing/Lacing.aspx
Hard to tell the finish from those photos...
This manufacturer sells replacement lace (looks like vinyl to me): http://www.moonshineshades.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=1
Maybe a person could take off some of the shine with fine sandpaper, or skip vinyl and go with the leather??
June 22, 2010
It's me, Atomic Babette again!
Were continuing with our tour of the 1958 ranch home "The Delores." Now everyone form a neat line right here and follow me, right this way!
We've already seen the mid century modern living area and the retro kitchen. Are you ready for more? Even if you're not, here we go . . .
Oh my, what have we in here? A room full of emptiness! This room was cleared only a month ago making room for a studio area.
My stars! Everything is old in here, isn't it? The tank-side table, the art table... even that G-3 computer *giggle*
You know, I think the homeowner really should install adjustable wall shelving over the art table, like that originally used in this home in the 60's-70's. Wouldn't that give him someplace swell to showoff that vintage camera collection?
The art equipment came straight from the family's commercial graphic arts business, dating back before we experienced better living through computers!
And he should do a feature about that space collection on that blog or whatever it's called of his too. Because it's so... Spacey!
No, no Mrs. Roberts, I don't believe he'd be interested in trading his collection of Space memorabilia for your vintage dentures collectibles. But maybe you could ask him, hmmm?
That's all for now . . . Be sure to come back again as we continue with even more of the tour!
June 21, 2010
June 20, 2010
Hope that all are enjoying a Happy Fathers Day!
It's been raining cats and dogs here, literally one nasty storm after another pile-driving through all day long today. I no sooner turn on the 'puter and log back on than another round of rumbling starts up for me to duck under... and its time to pull the plug on the works again.
Junior had planned on taking his ol' pop fishing today at the lake, but it's just not going to happen. Otherwise we might end up being the ones looking like barbeque at the end of a stick :P
Anyways, there'll be other days. The sun will come out, the birds will be singing and the Grand Outdoors will be calling our name. Until then we'll be dreaming about it... and praying that the next thing making like a bolt of lightning will be us speeding off to the lake.
A whole year has gone by.
It's been a year without my gaining some reassurance from your insight, without my looking deeper at situations from your thoughtful views and without my looking deeper into myself from your learned convictions.
I try to be the man you've been, and the kind of father you were. But I know that I will always come up short.
Though age and health took their heavy toll on you, I refused to look down, but up to you.
You were my lifelong leader, my shoulder, and my friend.
Today, we've gotten on with our lives, no longer haunted by the daily worries for your welfare. But today there is someone missing who had brought so much into our lives, and sacrificed so much for his family.
Thank you Dad. You are missed.
A Happy Fathers Day for all the dads out there and all the kids of dads!
June 17, 2010
Way, way back when I first started with my home retro-vation, it began in a little corner of the house known as Junior's Room.
Junior's room had a cowboy theme originally, and it was somewhat vintage in design too, because naturally since I have to be the overly-involved father that I am, I was the one who'd put it together :) He had Indian blankets on the bed, a horse blanket for a rug, a log shelf, cowboy lamp, horse shoes, retro cowboy curtains, a horse mural painted on one wall, and his endless toy horse collection. Oh, and don't forget his Woody figure (he's not a doll - boys don't have dolls!).
Shockingly, Junior grew since then and continues to grow. And it was time to let his room grow up a notch or two in an attempt to keep up with him. Junior decided he would like a space-theme for his new decor (with a little gentle coaxing from the overly-involved father) and I knew exactly what I had in mind, errr, I mean... so that he'd approve of it.
The first thing I did was to paint the walls in a deep rich shade, named "Planetarium Blue." This is a kid's room after all, so bold colors are appropriate. My idea was to then recreate a vintage space-theme wallpaper design on the blue walls through home-made stencils printed off the computer. That's getting ambitous, but sometimes it pays off to do crazy things no sensible person would attempt to do. And I'm all about doing the crazy thing...
Soooo, I searched for the right space-themed pattern to use on Junior's walls. That was a couple of years ago. And I'm still collecting samples and looking.
It began with these examples above in my little library. They provided me with the spark to start with. But these were not very clear, definitely not enough for a decent reproduction. I knew better than to design my own pattern, because I'm hopelessly critical of my own work, especially if it means looking at it day in and day out. Being a picky artist type has its disadvantages :/
Early on I ran across this example which is way-out awesome!! The pattern reminds me of a pair of PJ's I had as a kid. It's a custom retro wallpaper made for the movie MIB back in 1997 (has it been that long already?).
Yes, the site Design Your Wall is offering this as an actual wallpaper to the general public. But at $98.99 per 30' roll, the price is way-out too :/
Aside from that, Design Your Wall is THE site to browse for a wide range of vintage wallpaper designs... especially for kids! Cowboys, Circus, Nursery... they've got it and more.
And then I have to share one of the stunningly stellar examples which I found recently at 1950's Atomic Ranch House! I don't know much about the lady who runs this site, but I hear she has a hip-happening blog. You might want to check it out ...heh! ;)~ Thanks Atomic Ranch Lady!
Birds of Ohio has a few examples too, some 70's space wallpapers and a Flash Gordon Print from the 40's. Nice, but not exactly what I had in mind though.
If you know of any more fantastic vintage space themes (or any vintage kids room themes), and would like to share them here, Please do! I'd be forever grateful.
Some other links with retro outer space themes for kids rooms:
My Retro Baby Space Theme Gallery
L.A. Rugs Solar System Kids Rug - Stylehive