The Evolution of a Manspace

I’ve mentioned Mr. Crafter’s barn/office before – once when we first redid it into a useable space, then when we repainted the exterior.  But like a very wise friend of mine says, spaces in your home are like living breathing things, constantly changing, adapting, flexing.  Mr. Crafter’s office / man cave is a great example of this phenomenon.  Gradually, he has added bits and bobs, arranging them in that “perfectly staged to look like they’ve been there for 50 years” way he has.  It has evolved into something that would probably cause the American Pickers to slam on the brakes and race each other to our door.  I always enjoy going in there and looking around at all his little treasures, and I thought you might like to see it too!

IMG_1254      His original idea was to recreate a 1950s Mobil gas station, but he’s moved away from that idea slightly.  He still wants it to feel like a gas station, but he’s allowing himself to add other things if he wants, like this crazy awesome Hep-Ur-Sef sign.  We researched what this sign was all about after prying it off a falling down outbuilding.  Apparently it was a chain of self serve gas stations in Alabama in the 50s and 60s.IMG_1260Eventually we want to install this gas station lamp in the ground and get it working, if possible.  The old Mobil gas pump has the original glass globe that goes on top, but it’s in such good condition that it’s inside the barn to keep it from getting trashed.  But the pump itself looks perfect just like this, I think.IMG_1255

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IMG_1250Inside is awash in vignettes of whatever little things strikes the mister’s fancy.  He loves old packaging – boxes, cans, jars – and has them stacked here and there.  There’s a very thin line between collector and hoarder.  Hopefully we’ll know when we get there.IMG_1256

 

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IMG_1259A lot of the little things in his office are things I bought on a picking trip, meaning for the shop, that he confiscated and promptly installed in his obsessitorium.  He’s like a 200 pound magpie, picking off little treasures and stashing them away in his nest.

In a year or so from now this space will look completely different, having grown and changed as much as Little Betty does from care and attention.  I’ll be sure to share it with you.

Spring is in the air…

and you know what that means!  It means a new vegetable garden at Casa Crafter!

Last year, this is what my “garden” looked like:

garden before

 

Those two metal tubs were my previous attempt at a veggie garden.  It was a flaming, tailspinning, crashing failure.  I didn’t have them drained correctly and after the first big rain my small crop of peppers, squash, cucumbers, and cantaloupe was drowned.  I was super bummed.

This year I was determined to do better!  I REALLY want to use our huge lot (for being in a city anyway, half an acre is pretty good!) for producing some of our own food.  We have the chickens, fig trees, and persimmon tree already which are great fun.  A successful garden along with the beehive I’m planning will round it out nicely!  I bet you didn’t know I was such a hippie, huh?  Anyway, since I really want to get serious about making my yard more edible, I decided to get some professionals involved.  I worked with an amazing company whose tagline is “Grow Food.  We’ll Help.”  Perfect.  And here is my garden now!

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As you can see my ill-fated metal tubs have been put to use again!  They have been set up to drain properly, had trellises added, and are now planted with cucumbers and snow peas.  Since this area is on a slope we added all this terracing to keep the decomposed granite pathways in place.  I’m super happy with the way it looks.  The slope also makes it really hard to photograph!

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All around the perimeter in those mini stone beds are blackberries.  Little Betty will eat every one of them I’m sure.

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Do you recognize my metal planter score from my recent shopping trip?

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Although I think vegetable gardens are beautiful enough on their own, I didn’t want my garden to be ALL business.  I wanted a focal point.  And my favorite plants are definitely succulents!  They are so beautiful and easy to propagate.  I’ve always got new starts going in a few vintage planters somewhere in my house or yard!

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There’s also herbs tucked into a few of the corners.

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The wood raised beds are pretty awesome.  They’re wicking beds, which means there is a reservoir underneath the soil that holds water and provides water to the plants from underneath.  Great for our scorching summers!   I stick a hose down this PVC pipe and fill it until water comes out of a hole on the other side:

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Brilliant, right??

I’m super excited to see how my garden will change over the coming months, hopefully into a lush, Texas style cottage garden with densely packed fruit and vegetables!

Have any of you put in your spring gardens yet, or are planning them out?

Kitschmas time is here…

I just couldn’t wait, folks.  I had to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving.  I couldn’t help it!  Part of it was how excited I was about our new tree!  Although I love our classic vintage aluminum tree, it’s not as big as I’d like and it was starting to get a little raggedy after years of use and I really don’t want to ruin it.  So all this year I’ve been thinking about what kind of tree I wanted to get.  It’s a tough decision for us vintage lovers.  There’s not anything similar to the aluminum tree on the market.  But we are thrilled with what we ended up with.  Wanna see?

I thought a white tree might be a good substitute for the look of the aluminum but this one was especially awesome because it’s white iridescent pre-lit with multicolor lights.  Most white trees are not iridescent and have white lights.

It’s super kitschy and sparkly.  In other words, perfect!

Mr. Crafter says he likes it even better than the aluminum one and I’m inclined to agree.  Plus no more pesky color wheel!

Soon I’ll show you some other current vintage Kitschmas vignettes from around Casa Crafter.  I’ve also started my Christmas crafting and have some projects I’m excited to show you when they’re done!  Have you decorated yet?  Link to photos if you have them!

The coffee table set of my dreams! (Oh yeah, and a new couch too)

So, one of the great benefits of being a vintage dealer for a living is that I can trade out furniture and we’ve been doing a lot of that lately.  Today I’m going to show you what is happening in our living room.  First, we got our first ever real adult couch!  Meaning, non vintage, brand-new, costing more than our mortgage.  Although we loved the other set, especially that peacock blue color, we found we really needed more seating space in this room, and thought a proper sectional would fit the bill perfectly.  Thanks to Thrive Furniture and their Taylor L shaped sectional we got something we feel fits into our vintage home perfectly and gives us the space and comfort we wanted.  Plus, their Lucky Turquoise color was almost the same color as our old set!  Now our living room is such a cozy nest, perfect for curling up in front of the fireplace and watching movies.

But the real story of today is the totally amaze-balls coffee table set we picked up today.  Mr. Crafter went to the vintage store across the street from mine while I was restocking and spied something he knew I’d love.  He dragged me over there and it was ours in less than 10 minutes.  I’ve never seen anything like it – it’s 2 coffee tables and 2 end tables with German Black Forest carved scenes under glass, just like my Alpine Chalet collection!  It’s super hard to photograph because of the glass, so excuse the terrible pictures and try to see past the glare to the amazing beauty of these pieces.

This is the round coffee table.  There is a string underneath that if you pull it plays a song and the water wheel turns.  That part needs a little work – I’m hoping my local clock shop can get it working correctly.

This is the rectangular coffee table.  It’s hard to appreciate the depth and intricacy because of the glare unfortunately.

Then there are 2 bi-level end tables too.  Aren’t they amazing?  Seriously, I’ve never seen anything like them.  I love them so much.  Yes, they are kitschy as heck, but that’s totally my bag!  We’ll never have a stereotypically perfect mid century home, but being surrounded by crewel pillows, Alpine chalets, and Mr. Crafter’s found art pieces makes me indescribably happy and comfortable.  And that’s what home is supposed to feel like, right?

The Whimsical World of Mr. Crafter

I recently mentioned the creative, inventive spaces my incredible husband has created in our homes over the years and you asked to see pictures.  I finally dug some up (with help from friends – thanks Lisa!) and am excited to show you his biggest projects!

I guess I’ll do this chronologically.  About a year before we got married we bought a cute little 1960 starter home.  We were attracted to the fact that it was clean, cheap, and in original condition.  We did a lot to this house and it was totally adorable by the time we left.  It was even on HGTV!  But the real gem of this house was the backyard.  It had been neglected over the years, but the large lot was a patchwork of flowerbeds and paths with no lawn whatsoever.  We couldn’t wait to get back there and start bringing it back to life!  Mr. Crafter’s very first brainstorm came when we tore the clothesline out.  It was in a narrow space created by the garden shed, the privacy fence, and a boxwood.  He decided it was a perfect space for an astroturf outdoor bowling alley, which it definitely turned out to be!

He scored that old high school gymnasium scoreboard while scouting props for a production company he was working for at the time.  The best part was the loud buzzer.  Luckily our neighbor had as crazy a backyard as we did and loved it!  This picture was taken right after we got married 7 years ago – our arrow sign is congratulating us.

The bowling alley ended up in a book called ManSpace (amazon link here) and is a great gift idea for anyone who wants to encourage or inspire their men to follow their design ideas.

After the bowling alley, I fully embraced Mr. Crafter’s wild ideas.  For example, soon after that we bought a 1960s Shasta Airflyte and decided to rip out the large raised beds on the opposite side of the yard to create a sweet little yard for our trailer.

What we didn’t expect was that ripping out the raised beds would create LOTS of excess soil.  No problem!  Mr. Crafter had the brilliant idea of using that soil to sculpt an octopus rising out of the lawn that we would plant sod on.  You can’t see it in this picture because it’s behind the lilies.  This is the only existing picture of Dr. Octopus, sadly:

Thanks Lisa for finding it and thanks Alex for modeling it!  You can’t see his long winding tentacles here unfortunately.  There were more than a few parties that wound down with a handful of people passed out relaxing in his grassy embrace.  His bowling ball eyes, however, were the best part, I think.  They matched the bowling ball finials on the fence, another Mr. Crafter contribution to our yard design.

It was sad to leave this house, and the yard especially, but we did.  The next house was during the time I was pregnant and Little Betty was an infant, so not much got done to that house.  But of course Mr. Crafter had to leave his mark in some way!  Now, you should know that Mr. Crafter is, no joke, one of the top 3 James Dean nerds in existence.  Little Betty’s middle name is even Rebel (and no, her real first name is not Betty.)  In this house Mr. Crafter created a to-scale replica of James Dean’s 1955 New York City apartment in our guest room.  For years he had been pouring over photos of it with a magnifying glass, trying to identify every book and knick-knack on the shelves and buying what he could identify on ebay.  And finally he had enough to build it.  Here is the real room:

And here is Mr. Crafter’s room:

Mr. Crafter was so meticulous he even made sure the knots in the pine were in the same places as the real room.  He has plans to re-create this project in the upstairs of the barn.

And now, here we are in our dream house and even though he’s been busier with work than he ever has been in his entire life, he has made time to leave his mark on our new home with his project of turning our barn/his office into a 1955 Mobil gas station.  It’s really coming together, but just you wait!  A year from now I’m sure it will be even more insane.  We have plans to turn this into a proper guesthouse with the James Dean room upstairs and an outdoor bathroom off the back.

I am a lucky, lucky girl to be married to such an amazing man!

 

 

It’s that time of year again my lovelies…

The antique fair in Warrenton is here!!!  Oh how I anticipate the precious 2 weeks, twice a year, this festival comes along.  It is heaven to me.  Little Betty, Mr. Crafter, and I went yesterday even though it hasn’t officially started yet and people were just getting set up.  We still had a great day and got some amazing things which I will show you more of as the 2 weeks progress (cause you know mama ain’t just going once!)

But I did want to take a quick moment to show you our most exciting score:

Aren’t they amazing?  I can’t wait to have frosty cold beverages at my disposal right on the deck in that reach in counter cooler.  Yes, we do already have a functioning vintage Pepsi machine in the mister’s office stocked full of beer and glass bottle sodas, but this will be great for things like bottled water and iced teas and stuff.  The original plan was to resell the 1960s Dr. Pepper soda machine to recoup the cost of the cooler, but once we put it on the deck to take pictures for craigslist, it was immediately clear it wasn’t going anywhere!

In other house news, Mr. Crafter is making serious progress on his latest super creative home design idea.  A little backstory – my darling husband has added the most wonderful whimsical touches to every home we’ve lived in.  He has the best ideas and I’ve learned it’s best to embrace them because they always turn out great.  Some of his wild brainstorms in previous houses included a backyard astroturf bowling alley complete with gymnasium scoreboard, a grass octopus rising up out of our lawn with bowling ball eyes, and a complete, to-scale replica of James Dean’s 1954 New York City apartment in our guest room.  His current project is to turn the exterior of his office (our backyard barn) into a 1950s gas station.  It’s now been painted, a vintage Mobil gas pump acquired, and signs are being collected.

One of his friends commented that we live in a Tim Burton movie.  I find that a huge compliment.

Check back in the coming days for the Warrenton extravaganza to come!

Little Betty’s not the only one who got a new bed…

Mama and Papa did too!  Our new Heywood Wakefield bed was finally delivered and we couldn’t be happier with it.  They only offer one color and we were nervous it wouldn’t match the rest of our vintage set of wheat colored Heywood Wakefield (Rio? I’m not for sure.  Anyone know?)  but it turned out to be an almost perfect match.  I can highly recommend getting this to anyone else who has a vintage Heywood Wakefield bedroom set but doesn’t want to squeeze into a full size bed.  We got the king size.  I’m pretty happy with the bedding, but we’re still vacillating on whether or not we need king size pillows.  Thoughts on that?  I do, however, really like the bedding.  The quilt and shams are from West Elm and I love the coral color.  I think it pulls the other colors in the room together.  And the aqua vintage Whitney Point blanket echos the turquoise lamp.  I can’t decide if I need a larger piece of art over the bed.  What do you think?

So I figured with the room finally feeling complete it was a good time to give you a tour of the whole bedroom!

One of my favorite little details in our bedroom is our bedside lamps – 2 50s TV lamps.  A squirrel for me and a ship for the mister.  Quite appropriate as you all know my deep love for squirrels and the mister probably has at least 7 huge ship tattoos.

You can also get a good view of our barkcloth curtains here.  They aren’t wide enough to cover the whole window and I wish I had been able to find 2 more panels but finding 4 panels of vintage barkcloth drapes is hard enough!  And these were the exact colors I wanted.  I really love the dark green background and the chartreuse and coral colors echo the chartreuse wall color and the coral/burgundy bedding, wall art, and chair.

This is one of my favorite spots in the house.  I really enjoy doing all my girly stuff here.  One  constant challenge for me is jewelry storage, as you can see.  I’ve got it stashed everywhere.

Necklaces on tole hooks…

Necklaces on a C Jere wall sculpture (the missing leaves are perfect for hanging them on!)

Bakelite bracelets on a bracelet tree, alpine chalet jewelry box for rings and earrings.

Lucite and silver bracelets on a gold confetti serving plate.  I may have a jewelry problem.

Purse storage is also a challenge.  This bookshelf does a good job of holding my non-Enid, smaller handbags. I still don’t have a good system for my larger and shoulder bags.

Of course the spaces in our home are always a work in progress, but it’s nice to finally feel that this room is “done.”  It’s a warm and relaxing space for us that feels functional and pulled together at last.  The only thing left on my list is figuring out a way to create a walk in closet.  The one thing I can’t live with mid century style are the closets!