Monday, October 21, 2013

Neutra Numbers Are On Sale! | Mid-Century Monday

It's that time again...

The Design Within Reach semi-annual sale catalog arrived a couple weeks ago and I wanted to scoop in before the sale was over to alert the masses of a quick way to add a bit of mid-century design to your curb appeal...on sale.  Design Within Reach's Neutra numbers are regularly $24 and are currently $20.40 (for black or aluminum) and $16.80 (for red--which would look awesome and I kind of regret not going that route). If you're dying for red and your address has a "0" or a "2" in it, however, you're going to need to move. Those numbers are currently sold out.

This probably doesn't sound like a huge savings, but if your address is five numbers long that's almost $20 off (or $36 off if you go with red). And, if you're like me and your address is only one number long, that means you can give your home a little facelift for around 20 bucks.

Sale lasts through this Thursday, the 24th.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Virden Lighting Chandelier | Mid-Century Monday

When we moved into our home last December, most of it had been recently remodeled. This was great for a lot of reasons. But it also meant that a lot of the original charm that was probably once present in our 1950s split level had been replaced with new fixtures designed to appeal to the everyday buyer.

This was the chandelier that came in our new home:

Don't get me wrong, it was nice and all. But it just wasn't old enough.

This, on the other hand, is perfect:

I spotted this magnificent piece of history a while back on Craigslist. It was $500. I didn't have an extra $500 sitting around but I fully support wishful thinking so I dove head first into a serious round of I'll-just-research-this-til-I-convince-myself-it's-worth-the-$500-I-don't-have.

The Craiglist ad showed a picture of the lamp's manufacturer sticker so I used that to Google-vestigate.

I pulled the following directly from the Abandoned Blog:

By 1968, Virden was the third largest among the nation’s 1,400 fixture manufacturers, with production tripling from eight years prior. The company sold more than 1,000 varieties from its biennial catalog, and produced 10,000 to 15,000 fixtures per day, consuming more than a million components per week. Virden constructed 600 to 800 units of one design per run, which were moved to distributors in lots of 10 to 2,000 per week, some designs totaling 150,000 units per year. Its designers sketched 2,500 fixtures per year, selecting 100 patterns to be prototyped.
In 1946, Virden was elected a director of Eaton Manufacturing Company and became director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in January 1951 – later rising to chairman of the board. On September 28, 1958, Virden was named president of Eaton Manufacturing Company and diversified the company, believing in “divisional autonomy.” He also announced his resignation as chairman of the board of the Virden Company. In 1965, the Virden Company was acquired by Scott & Fetzer Company of suburban Lakewood, with no changes taking place at its operations at Longfellow Avenue. The company became known as the Virden Lighting division.
In 1970, Scott & Fetzer laid off several hundred from the Virden Lighting division due to a housing slump, and again in 1975. The company sold off its Virden Lighting and Rembrandt Lamp divisions in December 1977 to a newly formed company, Virden Corporation, which at the time of the sale had 360 employees.
That's cool if you're into history--but what was of use to me was that Virden was acquired by the Scott & Fetzer Company in 1965. The label of my prized light fixture showed it was from the Virden Lighting Division of Scott & Fetzer. Scott & Fetzer sold their divisions in 1977. Which meeeeeans my fixture was made between 1965 and 1977.

I also learned that the Virden lighting catalog came out every two years. I was able to dig up the 1959 catalog, which means the catalog came out in odd-numbered years. If I had to guess I'd say my fixture was from 1967. Here's a similar light fixture (bottom right) from the 1959 Virden catalog from the Internet Archive:

I scoured Ebay and Etsy and everywhere in between to find a comparable light fixture to compare prices but I couldn't find anything like it anywhere. This was weeks ago so I tried again now. The closest I could find was this:

The bad news: It really was worth $500. Probably more than that actually. And, even so, I couldn't afford it. So I let it go.

Kind of. I checked back sort of embarrassingly frequently. A month later it was still available. AND it was around half the price.

The good news: I am expert haggler and got the price down to $200...which was still more than I could afford in real life. And yet...

I plan to keep this gem for a very long time or to sell it for much more than I paid for it in the event that Jackson Lloyd needs an emergency liver transplant. The old-new chandelier that came with the house is still in the attic so we can put it back up to appease the herd of prospective buyers when we eventually move out of here. 

PS, I know Columbus Day is kind of a ridiculous holiday for anyone who actually pays attention to history, but Columbus just so happens to be the name of our cat. So--Happy Columbus Day from Columbus the Cat!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to Make Fish In A Bag Carnival Prize Soap | Circarnival (Circus Carnival) Wedding DIY

Wedding guests at the Circarnival Wedding will be receiving wedding favors, but we thought it would be nice if there were prizes for the carnival games as well. Enter: Fish in a Bag Soap. This project is best accomplished with two people, but is relatively easy and can be done in an evening and, depending on how many you make, is also pretty inexpensive.

What You'll Need

-a knife
-measuring cup or other bowl with a spout
-chopsticks or long forceps
-spray bottle with rubbing alcohol in it (I got mine at CVS for about a dollar.)
-plastic goldfish (I bought a multi-color pack, but only used the orange ones.)

1. Cut up the soap. 

Using the soap we had, I was able to cut the block into about nine sections of four cubes each (for a total of 36--yielding 9 bags). The first cut row you see pictured below was a bit too much soap for one bag so I began cutting thinner slivers after this.

2. Prepare an ice bath.

You'll use this soon.

3. Melt the soap.

Put a "row" of the soap (for me that was four cubes) into the spouted container and microwave it for 45 seconds. If the soap isn't melted, pop in back in there for 8-10 second intervals until it is. 

4. Using the funnel, pour the melted soap into the bag.

This is a surprisingly delicate process and would best be accomplished with two humans. The trick is to keep the funnel's nose aiming toward the center of the bag to avoid getting soap on the sides of the bag. 

5. Spray the soap in the bag with the rubbing alcohol.

This is to remove air bubbles. Failure to do this step will lead to a rabies-like frothing at the top of the soap. Don't forget, or you'll have to shoot your soap, Old Yeller style.

6. Move the bag of soap to the ice bath and use the chopsticks to lower in the fish.

It's best to wait just a smidge (which is the scientific term) before lowering them in so you don't have to hover hand it forever.

7. Hold that damn fish there.

Doot da doot. 

8. Once it seems legit, let that fishy free.

You'll know you've reached legitness when that fish stays put when you let go.

9. Boom! One fish bag is more or less prepared. Now repeat this process until you run out of soap. 

10. Mix it up, mixmaster. 

Every once in a while, stop fighting the urge and go ahead and make a dead fish bag. You could just put the fish upside down at the top of the soap, but trust me this won't satisfy your itch. For true deadness, first scratch the eye paint off of the fish. You're welcome. He's dead now. 

11. Find a friend with a Cricut. 

Trust me. If you're going to make labels for your fish prizes, you're going to want a Jamie-With-a-Cricut in your life. This thing is magical. 

12. Make and attach cute labels.

In my case, I used a star shaped hole punch, double layered Cricut-cut paper tags, wrote on them, and attached them with ribbon and string. Because, why not.

13. Marvel at your craftiness.

No, YOU'RE the winner.