Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vintage Thingie Thursday

Wow.  It's been over three weeks since I posted.  A lot of factors have contributed to that.  One is the good old busy-ness of life.  The kids have had a lot going on, blackberries have needed to be picked, I started a MAJOR room rearrangement upstairs, etc.  The second factor is the heat.  Good grief, it's hot in Arkansas.  We have hit 100 degrees repeatedly this month.  For the past two nights the temperature at 9:30 pm has been 89 degrees!  That's just wrong.  Our normal June temps are low to mid 80's, with nighttime lows in the low to mid 60's.  The result of this blistering heat is a lack of energy and upstairs rooms that are uncomfortable to be in after noon.  Just to make sure the heat is as unbearable as possible, we're also in a drought.  So I add about an hour a day of watering flowers and vegetables to my routine.  Ok, I'm done complaining now, so on to some vintage yumminess.

I've been collecting mid-century dishes and cookware for several  years.  During that time I've found a few designers whose pieces I really love.  One of those is Ben Seibel.  Seibel's designs are so beautifully elegant and, dare I use a trendy word, organic.  His pieces catch my eye from across the room.  Over time I've collected a few, all by chance, and all at very, very low prices.

I love them all, but the milk pitcher and cream pitcher are exquisite.  And the serving bowls.  And platters.  And tea cups.  This photo includes pieces in the Rosemary, Blue Diamond, and Harvest Time patterns.

Recently I scored a large amount of Ben Seibel Blue Diamond dishes at my local Goodwill.  I bought them planning to resell most, but they are so beautiful that I have not yet been able to let go.

I'm not usually a big fan of blue dishes, but these are so gorgeous!  All of the colors on the Ben Seibel pieces are very calming and pleasing to the eye.  When I happen upon them I often find myself thinking, "Oh, that's the prettiest shade of blue (or green, or pink)."  I love that the solid color is used on the underside of the plates and saucers, and the outside of the bowls.

As lovely as the colors are, I think it's the shapes that get me.  They flow so subtly, and look as if they would fit perfectly in your hand.  I'm a lousy photographer, so I've attempted to take pictures from several angles, to show the different shapes of these pieces.

The only negative I've found is that all of the dinner plates show wear to the pattern.  It ranges from mild to nearly complete fading of the image.  One of the Rosemary bowls that I have shows much more wear on the flower than the other.  If you are lucky enough to find some in good condition, be sure to handwash them to preserve their beauty.

Do you own any Ben Seibel pieces?  Do you have another favorite mid-century designer?  Share in the comments.

I'm linking up with Coloradolady at Vintage Thingie Thursday.  Go see the other vintage goodies, and keep the folks in Colorado in your prayers..

Friday, June 1, 2012

Before & After: The Old School Desk & Cabinet

We've been homeschooling for 8 years.  During that time we have tried every imaginable combination of desks/tables/workstations for our three kids.  We are blessed to have a room in our house that acts only as the school room (though it is the room through which most people enter the house.  yikes!).  A few years ago I built in an L-shaped desk that had work space for two kids plus one computer station.  Nearby was the bar on the back of our kitchen counter, and that provided another desk/workspace and another computer station.  That worked pretty well for a couple of years, but recently it dawned on my that my older kids almost never do their work in the school room anymore.  The go to the couch, table, bedroom, or even the tree house.  Bekah was the only one still doing most of her work in the school room, seated at a desk.

While browsing one of my favorite thrift stores, I found a little vintage school desk.  You can read all the details about it here, but I got it for just over $6.

Isn't it cute?  It had some rust, particularly around the rim of the desk, and the wood on the seat shows some wear, but I loved it.

I brought it home and began to work on it.

I sanded off all the loose rust with a wire brush.  Apparently I broke the cardinal rule of Before & After, and I forgot to take enough pictures.  I thought I had more, but can't find them.  I coated all the metal parts with rust inhibiting spray primer, followed by inexpensive white spray paint.  Using the white all over helps the final color to look more even with less paint.  I even taped off the wooden parts of the chair and painted the metal.  Here is the end result.

So cute!  When I asked Bekah what color she wanted it to be, she said "Baby blue or yellow."  I don't know why I asked, because I had planned to use turquoise all along.  That was close enough to baby blue for her, though.  The color is Krylon Blue Ocean Breeze.

To give her a pop of sunshine every time she opens the desk, I used a BRIGHT yellow inside.

The little cabinet behind the desk is another B&A.  It was a spur of the moment decision.  I knew that once I got rid of the L-shaped desk area with it's drawers and cubbies she'd need some place to keep her books nearby.  I got the little cabinet for $2.97 (i know!!) from the same thrift store, but many weeks earlier.  It looked like this when I brought it home.

After a little scraping, a little sanding, a coat of cheap white spray paint, and a coat of the turquoise, this is how she looks now.

The funny thing is, since I got this set finished and put into the school room, I have found all three kids using it!  I guess everyone likes it, and that's good.

I'll be linking this post to Vintage Thingie Thursday next week.