Welcome Home, Ida.

I’d like to introduce the latest addition to our family:

(Getting the typical inspection from Moxie…)

Her birth name is PAC-1 (sounds like a Droid, doesn’t it?). Actually, it was just Herman Miller’s abbreviation of Pivot Armchair with Cast aluminum (or Contract) base and 1-piece upholstery.

But I’ve decided to call her Ida… as in Ms. Ida Blankenship. Let’s pause here for a moment. If you do not know who Ms. Blankenship is, please do not Google her. Rather, I implore you to go and watch Mad Men (starting with season one — no skipping!!!). Like, now. I mean it.

For those of you still with me, based on a little research at the Eames Office, my guess is she’s from the early 70s. So she’s a little rough around the edges, but she’s still got plenty of spunk.

This is a bunch of iPhone shots I took of Moxie and Moo trying her out (okay, so I pretty much forced them to sit on the chair in attempts to get cute pictures… Doesn’t everyone do that???). Well, Moxie wasn’t really feeling it. But Moo has really taken to her. Unfortunately, for him, I’m pretty sure Ms. Ida will be taking her rightful station at the desk. I just hope she can catch on to all that advanced technology…


My New (Older-Than-Me) Bike

Last weekend, I found a vintage Peugeot bicycle on Craigslist (thanks, Dgls!). When I called the seller, I was surprised to find out that no one had snatched it up yet, and set a time to check it out. Sunday afternoon, we put the bike rack on the car, packed up Moxie, and drove about an hour northwest to check it out. Long story short, we drove home with a two-wheeled passenger from France. Long story long, we had to stop a few times on the highway to resecure the bike on the rack, which was not designed with the needs of a lady’s bike in mind (big surprise, right?). But, eventually, we got ‘er home in one piece.

I was tempted to add a bling to the back fender in Photoshop, but I resisted. :)

Tourisme Dames PX45 (5-speed) as pictured in the 1975 French Peugeot catalog
(image courtesy of Bike-boom Peugeot)

If you’re into needless details (like I am), you’ll want to know that, as far as I can tell, this particular model was never sold in the U.S. Rather, it was what Peugeot marketed in France and Europe as a Tourisme Dames (Ladies Touring) bike. After comparing it against vintage Peugeot catalogs online, I’ve deduced that it’s a circa 1975 French model PX45. From what I can tell, the bike and all parts are original and made in France, right down to the tires and tool bag.

Michelin 650Bx44mm Semi-Confort Tires. Vertical ribbing on the sidewalls helps turn the generator wheel for the head and tail lights (they still work!). Unfortunately, Michelin no longer makes these tires. Hopefully the dynamo will still work with replacement tires.

I took the bike for a rough test spin up and down our block a couple times. I gently shifted through all five gears, and the chain only slipped once. Not bad, considering. The brake pads are old, so I didn’t expect to be able to stop on a dime, and I was not disappointed in that respect. ;)

At thirty-five years old,  she’s due for a tune up and a sprucin’ up (couldn’t we all say that of ourselves?). Hopefully she’ll be in riding shape sooner rather than later.

Those of you with bikes: where do you like to ride?
Any suggestions for some leisurely rides in the city?

Trash-Picked: Lane Coffee Table

As I’ve mentioned before, I am an avid (to put it nicely) trash-picker. Well, apparently, this has rubbed off on my husband. A while back, he text-messaged me, saying he had picked up a coffee table he found lying at a curb. On his morning drive from studio to work, something caught his eye, and he actually backed up to check it out (Did I train him well or what?)! The finish wasn’t perfect, and it was missing it’s glass top, but he saw the piece’s potential, and was wise enough to throw it in the back of the car before continuing on his way.

This is the picture he sent me from his phone when he got to work…

…and here it is sitting in limbo in our sun porch:

The finish needs to be cleaned up, and obviously, it needs a glass top. I initially thought I had a piece of plate glass that would fit (a previous trash-pick), but it wasn’t quite long enough for the 59″ long table. So, we’re still on the look-out.

Moo and Moxie inspect the new addition…

I haven’t been able to find out much about this table. I’ve seen other Lane tables here and there, but very few reference to this particular  one. It certainly seems to be less common than the Lane Acclaim line. As for it’s age, the curves of the legs remind me of our Brasilla breakfront by Broyhill, which dates from the early 1960’s. So that would be my rough guess at this table’s vintage as well.

Apartment Therapy, recently pointed to a post on Craigslist where a seller was asking $395 for the same table. Is it actually worth that much? I doubt it. Especially not in this condition. But we like it regardless of it’s value. Hopefully at some point in the (near?) future, I’ll post an image of it cleaned up, complete, and in our living room.

What’s your opinion on trash-picking? If you’re a fan, do you get self-conscious while doing it? or are you a proud picker? And, please share one of your recent / favorite finds!

Dear Chair,

You had a hard life.

It was clear you’d been through much even before we found you by the side of the road. A previous owner had attempted to refinish you, but obviously didn’t know what they were doing (your coloring was uneven and splotchy). After bringing you home, I had grand intentions to sand, paint, and reupholster you. But rather, you were relegated to storage in our damp basemenwhen t for several years with other “project” chairs. You saw the glorious light of day during the past winter’s snow storms, only to serve valiantly as our “urban parking space holder”. And for that, dear chair, I thank you. Yet, how have I shown my appreciation? By leaving you outside since. You deserved so much better.

You certainly didn’t deserve to be thrown to the curb again by a man (I’m ashamed to admit – my husband!), who didn’t want to take the time to mend you. My only hope is that you were rescued from the crushing jaws of the trash truck by a kinder soul than I…Someone who will lovingly restore you and give you a rightful place at their desk or dinner table.

I am honestly glad that I happened to take this picture the day before you moved on.

Emeco in Our Home

Last summer, I posted about the legendary Emeco Navy® Chair. At the time, I was a bit obsessed, and after much ogling, I won one on ebay. Now it lives in our dining room!

The chair came from a guy not far from the Emeco factory in Hanover, Pa (also the home of Utz snacks). I liked his creativity with packing materials – he used gallon iced tea containers to take up extra space in the box. Most were Rutter’s, but there were a couple Turkey Hill ones in there, too.

This is a vintage chair, so, it’s not in mint condition. The finish shows wear and it has a few dings, but most noticeably, the back of the chair has the word “PLASTICS” etched into it. I’m sure this reduces it’s “value”, but I like that the chair has physical evidence of it’s history. I only wish I knew a bit more about it’s provenance. Anyone have any ideas?

What about you? Do you own any vintage pieces that have mysterious markings that hint at it’s previous life?

Nifty Thrifty

I enjoy an occasional trip to the thrift store. Usually with my friend, who shall remain anonymous (she is a self-admitted addict). My first stop is always the housewares/knick-knacks section (this could be because it starts right as you walk in the door). There’s always a ton of stuff, but not much that catches my eye. Not to mention, their prices are weird. 66¢? $1.91? What happened to the 10¢ glasses and mugs I used to get at the Goodwill back at college? Seriously, though, $1.91? Is that normal? Anyway, I digress…

On my last trip into thriftdom, I was surprised to find several items that I was glad to take home (after paying, of course):

At first, I wasn’t sure about this vintage scale…I like it; it goes with my collection of vintage green kitchen tools, and it seems to function accurately, but the price seemed a bit high…more like an antique shop price, than a thrift shop price. But I emailed Tim a picture of it, and he said I should get it, so I can’t blame it on him. :)

For quite some time, I have been hoping to find some nice dessert or parfait dishes, and I finally came upon this set of four. I like the etched lines and their simplicity (for the most part). I’m not too crazy about the bases – they seem a bit incongruous with the tops. But, good enough.

I grabbed this vintage Phillies logo/1210AM thermos for Tim. So what it says, “Milk: The Fresher Refresher” on the back? There’s no rule that says he can’t use it for coffee. And just in time for baseball season.

Lastly, I just had to get these two Bicentennial glasses. Philly memorabilia + 1976 (our birth year) = home run!

If you’re an active thrifter, I’d love to hear about some of your recent finds!

Be a Part of Lovetown PA

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…”

I am back from the dead, to share an intriguing project in connection with Tim’s co-op gallery Tiger Strikes Asteroid.

A few years ago, artist, Gene Schmidt did an expansive project he called “Manhattan Measure“, during which he measured the length and width of the island of Manhattan by placing red yards stick end-to-end. The project was documented by photographer Alicia Hansen and filmmakers Johnny Gerhart and Philip Armand. At the end of the project, Schmidt formed a giant cross-shaped sculpture out of the 30,000 yard sticks, and the film was shown at various festivals across the country.

Canal Street, St. Nicholas Street, and Central Park (photos by Alicia Hansen)

map of the measured path and their final destination

Now, TSA has invited him to do a new project here in Philly. Of this project, which will use the text of 1 Corinthians chapter 13, Schmidt says,LOVETOWN, PA will involve a similar movement through Philadelphia. This time I will be lining up square panels of reclaimed scrap wood, each with a letter cut out like a stencil, spelling out the text quoted above. In some places the entire text will be visible, stretching 1267 feet. In other places, passers-by will only see a word, a phrase, or a sentence or two. I will keep repeating the text along an approximately eight-mile journey starting in North Philadelphia and ending on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.”

a grab from Gene's Kickstarter promo video

Visit the Lovetown PA Kickstarter page for more info and to support the project. Supporters will receive gifts ranging from a DVD of the resulting film, to all the letter panels used in the project!. Personally, I’d like to have a set of the 12″ x 12″ L-O-V-E squares. Wouldn’t they look so cool hanging on the wall?

Don’t dawdle folks, he only has two weeks left to raise support!

Update (03.22.10): Gene did not raise reach his full amount for the project through KickStarter, but plans to start over by raising funds the old-school way – by accepting checks through the mail. Generously, he will still honor snail-mail donations with the thank you gifts he offered on KickStarter. Read his update here, check out the gift levels, and consider contributing. The show must go on!

Before & After: McCobb Headboard

My use of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on my Pro-Keds was just a bonus side trip on the road to its original intention.

Last fall, we won a McCobb headboard on ebay for $50. We picked it up in Connecticut en route to our anniversary weekend spent in Concord, MA. While we were loading the piece into our car, the guy told us to just take it – no charge. It had been part of his mother’s bedroom set, and he was glad to see it go to a good home. Nice! (But, I do wish we had gotten a few of the other pieces of the set…)

The headboard is not in perfect condition (but, hey, neither is anything else in our house). Overall, though it’s a solid piece. The top had a lot of water rings (many bedtime water glasses) and scratches (more like graffiti), and the sliding grasscloth panels had some nonuniform staining. So, I applied Howard Restore-A-Finish in Golden Oak (the lightest shade available at our Home Depot) to all the wood, and Erased away with all my might on the sliding panels. And here are the results:

As distracting as that nasty wall paneling is, I hope you can see why I am so happy with the way the panels came out (not quite as happy as I was about my Pro-Keds, though!).

As for the wood – most of the water rings have been greatly reduced. But, I’m thinking we should have used the lighter Maple/Pine shade of Restore-A-Finish (the piece is maple, afterall). Because now, the scratches are more accentuated. Now, we can more clearly see that, at some point, someone really wanted us all to “Eat at Joe’s”.