Tuesday, May 30, 2017



I am always looking for ideas for the subject of my next piece. My pieces are usually kept short, just one page front and back. Please post your suggestions here OR on my author facebook page, where I will also be posting these. My plan is to post one per week.


Sword Fighting/Swashbuckling Words

En Guarde
Extended Lunge
Cutting Edge
Razor Sharp
Run Through

Saturday, May 27, 2017

1941 Winter Wear - Alaska

I was at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks, Alaska today and saw this at the Pioneer Museum.  I thought that it would make for an interesting blog post.  It's a simple wool jacket with a fun embroidered skiing design.  The pants are very plain, but match the burgundy fabric and are cuffed at the ankle.

Thursday, May 25, 2017



Before I begin, let me just say that the following is from my actual yellow writing journal. I am always looking for ideas for the subject of my next piece. My pieces are usually kept short, just one page front and back. Please post your suggestions here OR on my author facebook page, where I will also be posting these. My plan is to post one per week.


When I opened my eyes I saw pumpkins. A large field of pumpkins. The wet dirt soaked my clothes and I could smell the field – the dirt, the plants, the scent of lingering rain.

Pushing myself off the ground to stand, I realized that the field was larger than I had imagined with a yellow farmhouse and red barn in the distance. Between my position and the barn was a T-shaped post, where a scarecrow would be hung. There was no need.

There were no crows or any bird sounds, for that matter. I caught the brief scamper of a mouse, but that was all. The only sounds were of the wind rustling distant leaves and a strange heavy shifting sound like an armful of hay plopping down from a barn loft – only the barn was too far away.
How did I end up in this strange field? I couldn’t remember.

Wet wranglers and a clammy flannel made me frown. They had been washed and freshly ironed when I was at the market. I moved slow, stepping over pumpkin plants, as I headed towards the yellow house.

I stopped when I heard the heavy shifting sound again. I turned and saw a pile of fabric and hay not too far away. The hat blew in the wind, flopping on the ground.

A chill ran down my spine and I tried quickening my pace. I stopped when I heard the heavy sound again.

Glancing over my shoulder, I saw the pile of clothing and hay had moved! It was closer.

I hopped over the next row of pumpkins and quickly turned.

A man-sized scarecrow with an eerie grin stood there watching me.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Creating a Minimal Mid-Century Modern Space, Part 3

The following are the few items I have collected over the years that I am so happy to own!  These help my space to look unique.

This is my mom's parents' 1941 RCA Victorola.  It needs to be fixed, which is a special process so the bulbs don't explode.  Below, I have the two top doors open.

This is my wonderful Joybird couch.  It's one of the first really BIG purchases that I've ever made - aside from travel expenses.  This is the Hughes Chaise Sofa, in case you're wondering.

One of my aunts found these pillow covers.  They look like burlap, but they're really soft.  The beaded curtain print matches the couch.  I actually pulled these out at Christmas and never put them back.  I just like having them.

My mom found these old tv trays with a stand. They're a little scuffed up.  I've been thinking about repainting them.  Do I keep the checkerboard pattern or do I come up with my own pattern?

 My kitchen small tikis.  Tiki mugs, a tiki lamp, and tiki figures from Hawaii.  I even have a skull cookie jar that holds dog treats.  Also, random cowboy that was my grandma's figurine.

This was a Christmas present this year.  It works pretty well.  I really like it.

8 Cool MCM Items

1. Brighten Your Space With A Mobile
Atomicmobiles.com  $79-149.  Purchase as-is, customize your colors, pastels, or even glow in the dark.

2. By The Lamp Light!  Colorful Finials
Overthetoplampfinials.com contact for price.  Offering atomic, molecule, and artsy lamp finials.  These are lamp toppers that provide a little extra oomf!

3. Mid-Century Modern Wallpaper
Doubleecompany.com price varies.  Add a MCM style to your walls or just to an accent wall.

4. Post-War & Atomic Wallpaper
Bradbury.com  $76-81/roll.  This wallpaper is a little more tone down than that of the Double E Company.


5. Add Some Unique Tiles
Clayhausceramics.com  price varies.

6. Plant It With A Bullet
Hiphaven.com $170-180 (depending on size) bullet planter.  I have it shown in rattan, but these bullet planters come in a wide variety of colors and leg finishes.  Great for indoors or outdoors.  They also have a mini version!

7. The Shop With A Little Everything
Retroplanet.com  prices vary.  Retro Planet has a bunch of stuff - clocks, kitchenware, signs, gifts, etc.

8. Retrograde Your Landline
Worldtohome.com and Ericofon.com are the two best places to get refurbished or reproduction phones that are ready for you to use.
1940s wall phone - Erico
1959 princess phone - World to Home

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Basic Ahi Poke

Poke is a Hawaiian dish of marinated raw tuna, usually served with rice and/or veggies.  I just put it with some broccoli and made it soy-free. Pronounced Po-kay.  Summer luau?  Maybe try some poke!

Basic Ahi Poke
serves 4

1 lb Ahi Tuna, sushi-grade
2 TBSP Lime Juice
1 TBSP White Wine
2 TBSP Bragg's Aminos
1 TBSP Honey
Sesame Seeds
Onion Powder and/or Scallions, chopped

1. Wash your tuna and cut into small cubes.
2. Mix everything together in a bowl - tuna, wet items, dry items.
3. Chill in the fridge for 5 minutes.
4. Serve with rice and/or veggies.

You can add in fruit or sriracha or whatever to alter your poke.  You can also add in various veggies.  This is commonly served with sliced avocado, chopped cabbage, pineapple, etc.  Make it your own!

Be careful when consuming raw fish.  Always serve the poke chilled.

Creating a Minimal Mid-Century Modern Space, Part 2

At this point, perhaps your mind is teeming with ideas for fixing up your place.  Maybe you even laid down some new flooring or repainted your walls or something like that.  What I want to discuss, to really make your space feel like a minimal MCM space, is removing clutter and key elements to the mid-century modern style.

Removing Clutter

I've reposted my favorite YLiving advert: Clutter Causes Anxiety.  I saw it on the back of a Dwell magazine and it struck me as being so absolutely true.  It sounds so easy, but it's not.

What you need to do is dedicate a weekend to removing clutter from the room that you are renovating.  Yes, a whole weekend.  Your goal is to get rid of everything that you don't need, that you haven't touched in the last year, books that you don't read and don't have sentimental value or purpose, etc.

What do I have hanging around in my living room?  Let's list some of these things out because its kind of ridiculous.
  • Ugly ottoman my mom lent to me
  • Christmas decorations (I know it's almost May)
  • A 2016 calendar still on the month of June
  • Sewing projects & sewing machine - all over the place
  • A big rubbermaid tub that has no purpose
  • My old computer is sitting on the floor
  • An overcrowded bookshelf
  • Patterns not put away
  • An exercise bike I don't really use
  • An extra dog dish
  • A terrible lamp stand, I don't have a current replacement
  • A candy dish with Christmas candy
  • A few sweaters lying around
As you can see from the list, not fully complete, I have a bunch of shit around my living room.

Ready for a challenge?  I want to see your clutter.  Post a picture in the comments or on your own blog and let me know.  I want to see how you improve your space, so also post a picture of your clutter-free space.

Here is my BEFORE:

Here is my AFTER.  I took out 7 bags of garbage/junk and 1 bag of books.:

I got rid of quite a bit of stuff.  If there wasn't a place for it and I couldn't make one, it was removed.  If I hadn't used it in a while, it was removed.  I got stuff off the floor.  I cleaned.  This actually extended to my entire apartment and posting this, I am not currently finished.  Tonight I'm cleaning my bathroom (easy) and tomorrow the focus will be on my bedroom (my junkiest room).  Going through stuff, I found an empty box taking up space in my hallway closet.  An empty box!  I was like WTF?!  Why do I have this?  I also took things down that were simply taking up space like the skull masks that I painted (taken down after the photos) and the calendar from 2016.

Something awesome that happened is that I decided on a small-space theme for my writing nook (where my red table is - still a little cluttered).  I'm going with a retro, pulp magazine sci-fi and horror look.  I ordered some posters that I like and I think I might just make my own retro mobile (expect a blog post on that).  I also need to get some hangers.  I have so much crap hung up on those coat hooks that doesn't need to be there, but what am I supposed to do with it right now?  Throw all of it on the floor?  I'll let that be until I pick up hangers this weekend.

I don't know if the photos really do my space justice.  It feel SO MUCH BIGGER!  It is so nice to have my space not feel cramped and cluttered.  I'm still working on my bookshelves.  I still need to work on my writing space.  My bedroom is going to be insane because I keep some extra rubbermaid containers in there.  Have I gone through them?  Just the one with holiday stuff in it.

I would love to see YOUR space, especially if you: 1) have a renovated space, 2) do a before and after, and 3) if you need help.

Decorating Your Space 101

Turning your space into a MCM space is going to take proper decorating skills.  These are the rules that I generally follow, BUT feel free to do whatever you like or what feels right to you:
  1. Play up your themes.
  2. Don't go too crazy and cram too much into your space.
  3. Always have a centerpiece or focal point of your space.
  4. Take your time and do your research (aka look at pictures of MCM spaces).
  5. Consider adding in plants, rocks, salt lamps, wood pieces, metal pieces, clay/ceramics, glass, or other interesting pieces.
  6. Give yourself permission to save up for a new piece of furniture to fit the space.
  7. Lighting is important to all spaces.  You might have great lighting, you might need to invest in a new lamp or something.
  8. Don't get rid of essential items that you dislike until you have a replacement!
  9. If you want it, you MUST give it a specific place.
  10. If you get stuck, check out Retro Renovation for help.

Key Elements of Mid-Century Modern Style
You can't just jump into MCM decorating if you don't fully understand the style. MCM style is very post-war with adjectives like clean, sleek, futuristic/space age, function, sophisticated, modern, colorful, organic curves, and open space commonly used to describe it.  You will often find a merging of outdoors and indoors, especially if there is a pool, garden, or indoor conservatory incorporated into the house.
  • Textures - You can use textured paneling or textures in general to help create a MCM space.  You might find that wainscoting panels (painted or stained) can help give your space that extra oomf.
  • Color - Don't be afraid of color.  So many spaces are neutral in today's world.  Do something bold.  Paint that wall yellow or pink.  Color affects mood, so if that blue or peach is something you just adore, DO IT.  With most space schemes, I always try to have 2 or 3 colors that I play around with.  My kitchen is green, but accented in various tropical colors.  My living room is aqua and coral - kind of falls in with the whole tropical colors motif.
  • Geometrics - Shapes are cool.  Play around with shapes in your space.  You might find some globe lights, hourglass lampshades, a boomerange coffee table, starburst or sunburst wall decor, or something else that's geometric.
  • Organic Shapes - Organic shapes are odd shapes that you might find in nature such as: boomerang, amoeba, starburst, cowhide rug, squiggles, and organic curves (instead of hard angles).
  • Functional, But Decorative - If you are looking at setting up a room barrier or if your space is outside, you should consider decorative concrete block, decorative metal panels, and glass blocks.
  • Futuristic/Space Age - MCM style became popular just as we started going into space.  It shouldn't surprise you that space, ideas of space travel, and general sci-fi influenced a lot of MCM spaces.  You'll find sputnik shapes, rockets, starbursts, sunbursts, various atomic shapes, very sleek and clean spaces (masonite wall panels and high gloss paint), furniture with hairpin legs, and even home automation!  If it helps, think "Jetsons".
  • Open Space - Before MCM, a lot of homes had a room for each area of the house.  When MCM came along it was basically started knocking down walls for common areas.  Your kitchen, dining, and living room started to become one large space.  If you want to knock down a wall, talk to someone who knows that they're doing.
  • Inside-Outside - If you read articles about design elements of MCM, you'll run into people saying that there is an inside-outside element.  It might be a brick wall that runs along an interior wall and extends as a wall of your patio.  It could be extra windows to help bring in natural light.  Plants indoors.  If you're outside, it could be, essentially, an outdoor room with seating and a table and other items catered to your climate.
Kitschy is Ginchy!
MCM is home to some super kitschy elements.  Ginchy, by the way, just means 'cool'.  It's okay to have a bit of kitsch to your space.  It's fun and it helps make your space feel personalized.  The list is long, so I'll give you...let's say 15 of the ginchiest kitsch ideas.
  1. Ceramic panthers
  2. Dogs - Poodles, beagles, and Scottie dogs were the go-to dogs of the day.
  3. Clowns
  4. Cartoon Modern as home art - definitely google 'cartoon modern'.
  5. Tiki
  6. Exotica - This is a type of jazz of often associated with primitivism
  7. Primitivism - Decorating with primitive art, often African, native, tiki, polynesian designs, and even caveman as inspiration (like 'Flintstones').
  8. Sci-Fi - Retro sci-fi!
  9. Western - Wild west themes
  10. Fish/Fishing - Modern stylization of fish and fishing
  11. Horror - Retro horror, usually done up with some pretty bold colors
  12. Birds - I can see the three-piece chalkware bird set along your wall and pink flamingos in your yard.
  13. Bowling - You can definitely turn bowling into a kitschy theme.  If you do this, I would highly recommend being on a bowling team.
  14. Classic Cars - Many have been inspired by the sleek lines, fins, the chrome, and the sheer awesomeness of classic cars.
  15. Wild Thing - Leopard print, a little primitivism, a little tiki, a little horror and sci-fi, maybe even a little punk mixed in there.  The wild thing can be hard to pull off if you don't have a firm plan.

In Part 3, I want to show you some of my favorite items that I have and I want to share some really cool MCM items (links) that you could own!