Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive

Won’t you be my neighbor and donate? If you live in the Seattle metro area, please donate new and gently worn sweaters, coats, and other cold-weather gear to help keep kids and families warm during the winter months. Drop-off locations include all PCC markets in the Seattle area and KCTS9 adjacent to Seattle Center.


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A Mid-Century Christmas: How to Celebrate Retro-Style

The aluminum Christmas tree adorned with glass ball ornaments…

image from 100christmastrees.blogspot.com

The artificial tree with removable branches decorated with bubble lights and styrofoam balls bedazzled with sequins, rhinestones, and ribbons…

The pink “sno-flocked” live tree with color-coordinating pink orbs…

The mid-century housewife wasn’t satisfied with the traditional holiday decor; she paved her “atomic” way with  futuristic baubles, plastic beaded garland, and silvery tinsel draped on every possible item in the house.

The mid-century menu, however, was not to be messed with. The only thing that changed for the mid-century housewife were the modern amenities like the gas range, automatic electric coffee percolator, Oster electric meat grinder, and – the most coveted – freezer. Ahhh…I can smell the roasted turkey with oyster stuffing, mince pies, and cranberry gelatin molds!

Don your ruffled aprons bedecked with Christmas balls, play the Sinatra Christmas Album on the console turn table, and pour some Manhattans for the guests…it’s Christmas, Baby!

For a fond look back at Christmas in 1950s…

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Forever Mod: Mid-Century Gifts for the Home

For the mid-century lover in your life, what better way to honor their obsession than bestowing them with vintage wares for the holidays (hint, hint)! Buying vintage items has many benefits besides warming the hearts of collectors: it’s eco-friendly! Here’s a sampling of some beauties that I found while combing Etsy for retro kitsch.

Available at Nachokitty on Etsy, the 1950s souvenir glass set of San Francisco’s cable cars and Golden Gate Bridge, Lake Tahoe, and the Redwoods are sure to please.

These 1950s sake and tea coasters from VintageRetroDesign on Etsy will delight any mod man or woman looking to liven up their cocktail or tea service.

The perpetual calendar…a perfect addition to the mid-century metal desk from EmmyLucy on Etsy.

The best thing about ordering through Etsy sellers…they ship the items to you! However, if you are looking for the actual, 3-D shopping experience, check out some of the fabulous mid-century merchants around the Seattle area, including:

Antika in Greenwood

Classic Consignment in Ballard

Fremont Vintage Mall in Fremont

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Save the Nauga From Extinction!

Nauga (nô’ge) noun: “adorable little icon of the ’60s” from the original maker of Naugahyde.

Naugahyde (nô’ge-hīd) noun: artificial leather made with vinyl-covered, cruelty-free fabric  (naugas naturally shed their “hydes” without harming themselves).

Color coordinating fabrics available from Naugahyde (image courtesy of http://www.nauga.com/clrcoords.asp)

Most popularly found on mid-century stools at the soda counter and booth benches at the drive-in, naugahyde was developed in the United States in the ’30s and experienced a boom in the ’60s. Initially developed by the United States Rubber Company, the Nauga name was born in Naugatuck, Connecticut, where it was first produced and trademarked in 1936. Now owned by Uniroyal Engineered Products, naugahyde lives on.

In the ’80s, folks feared that the beloved nauga was headed for extinction, thus a campaign began in a small, civic-minded middle school in Washington to revive the nauga population and ensure that naugahyde continued to be available on easy chairs and car seats for years to come. This quest did not get too far, and naugahyde soon became referred to as plain old vinyl or “pleather” as other companies replicated the beloved  fabric. 

Never fear! You just might be sitting on the real deal when you visit the dentist or dine at retro-inspired diners around the country. Or, did you inherit or purchase a retro dinette set and want to recover those worn out chairs? Naugahyde is sold through dealers around the country and online (check out Decorator Supply where you can purchase a bevy of colors by the yard). Retro Renovation offers resources for the thrifty retro guy or gal interested in taking on a recovering project. 

Old advertisement featuring the nauga and a cruelty-free chair. Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naugahyde

And, as for the nauga, you can adopt one and save it from extinction! According to nauga.com, the nauga “makes a wonderful companion and is sure to bring magic to any setting it dwells in.” 

Still curious? Find out more about the fascinating history of the naugas at nauga.com.

Alas, the nauga is just an urban myth. You can check out the ugly truth at snopes.com.

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A Mid-Century Thanksgiving: How to Be a Host/ess With the Most/ess

A Retro Thanksgiving. Image courtesy of missretroblog.blogspot.com.

Pull out the marshmallows, it’s Thanksgiving! With classics like sweet potato casserole and cranberry marshmallow salad, the mid-century years brought out the best in marshmallows. The mid-century hostess always prepared a dish or two with those white puffy lovelies when she wanted to impress. Nowadays, marshmallows have been relegated to car camping trips with hot cocoa and s’mores, but a host/ess with the most/ess will bring those bad boys out and plop them in a good, ol’ fashioned casserole. Ready to fire up the oven and create? Here’s an easy, traditional recipe from Pillsbury:

Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potatoes

Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potatoes. Image courtesy of pillsbury.com.

Prep Time: 5 Min
Total Time: 35 Min
Makes: 8 to 12 servings

3 (15-oz.) cans sweet potatoes, drained
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
15 large marshmallows

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12×8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place sweet potatoes in sprayed baking dish. Pour margarine over potatoes. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt. Top with marshmallows. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are thoroughly heated and marshmallows are lightly browned. (If marshmallows become too brown, cover loosely with foil for last 10 minutes of baking time.)

And what about the turkey? Are you a dressing or stuffing person? The host/ess with the most/ess would say stuffing, but here in the 21st Century folks want dressing. Confused? Not Martha? Don’t know what to do with that turkey? Head on over to WE ARE NOT MARTHA and get all the juicy tips for the layperson.

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George Nelson: King of Mid-Century Mod

Nelson Cigar Floor Lamp, Moon Shine Lamp & Shade

Multi-Color Ball Clock, NOVA68











Ball clocks and bubble lampshades…these items truly define mid-century mod living, and were designed by the “original mad man”, George Nelson (1908-1986), in the 1950s. Nelson’s specialty was creating functional items without sacrificing design. Trained as an architect, he used his design knowledge to shape the American Modernism movement. Writer, teacher, and photographer, Nelson not only created objects but was able to share his process with others.

Bellevue Arts Museum wants to share Nelson’s work with the public through a retrospective of Nelson’s work – 220 items in all their glory, including his lamps, clocks, furniture, and more. Information about this exhibit happening now through February 12, 2012 can be found on the Bellevue Arts Museum website.

Want to find out more about Nelson or buy a few Nelson-style products? Check out these sites:

All about George Nelson

Ball Clock @ NOVA68

Bubble Lamps @ Moon Shine Lamp & Shades

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Forever Mod: Retro Paint Colors

Fabulous 50s paint colors (source: theretrokitchen.com)

Flamingo, Ramona Green…just a few paint colors from the 1950s.

In most cases, you won’t see these vintage paint colors on the walls of mid-century homes these days. They’ve been covered by paint colors of the 70s, 80s and beyond. But, never fear…if you are a mid-century maven like me, you’ll be pining over the bevy of retro paint color choices from a variety of dealers, including Martha Stewart’s line sold at Home Depot and Daly’s Paint & Decorating in the Seattle area (ask the Paint Princess for help!), just to name a few.

Some paint retailers have made it easy for you by putting together retro paint palettes. Sherwin-Williams revived the nostalgic colors, and offers a palette of colors perfect for the 1950s-vibe home of today, including the Suburban Modern and Streamlined Years palettes.

If you are looking for something not so “retro over-the-top”, Benjamin Moore has put together the New Retro color palette with subdued hues for your mid-century home.

Here’s a great tip for you hepcats who own mid-century homes and don’t know how to deal with those mint green bathroom fixtures that work just fine…don’t rip everything out, embrace it! HGTV has some great ideas on how to “retro-fy” those outdated bathrooms.

Need more help deciding on the perfect color scheme for your mid-century home? Check out these fabulous sites for some mod ideas:

And remember…stay cool, Daddy-O!

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