modern thrifter

modern thrifter

Thrifter & designer. Blogging about life in our MCM home & living on a budget. I also design things with my husband. You can see our work at The Mahoney Studio

DISSECTION OF A PROJECT
There are a lot of creative couples out there doing amazing work—artists, musicians, designers, architects, etc., and I know our situation isn’t exactly unique, but people often ask how Patrick and I work together. My blog is typically about home and thrifting topics, but this seemed like the best place to write out a thoughtful answer about our process, so hang in there, I’ll try to keep it kind of brief.
Patrick and I have really been unofficially working together since design school. We would critique each other’s work, brainstorm together, and honestly, Patrick did most of the mock-up crafting work for my graduating portfolio. He has an amazing attention to detail and a very steady hand. After watching me butcher a printed piece with an x-acto knife and spray mount, I think he mostly stepped in to rescue me because my sloppiness drove him crazy. 
I should clarify that we don’t work full-time together. Patrick still has a day job designing for other people, and I spend much of my day taking care of the kids and the household chores, but we spend a great deal of our evenings and spare time working on freelance projects together. I seriously dream of the day that we can work side-by-side in a larger capacity.
We each have our own styles, and our own strengths and weaknesses, so when a freelance job comes in, it’s typically pretty easy to determine which one of us will take the lead. Branding for yummy bakeries & ice cream will probably land in my court, while icon development, illustration, and the likes will probably be more Patrick. That said, there hasn’t been a a single project that didn’t involve both of us in some capacity. 
Here’s a project as an example where we worked pretty evenly. This foldable card was created for Paper Built, a client that we helped brand last year.
Sarah from Paper Built designs fantastic foldable paper crafts, and she created the foldable template. Then I sketched up what to put on it:


After that, I did a quick vector illustration, but that is not really my expertise, so at that point I turned it over to Patrick.

 He finessed my original and added all of the subtle details that made it so much better (see, he’s an obsessive detail guy).  



In the end, this piece would have fallen much shorter of our standards if only one of us had been involved.

DISSECTION OF A PROJECT

There are a lot of creative couples out there doing amazing work—artists, musicians, designers, architects, etc., and I know our situation isn’t exactly unique, but people often ask how Patrick and I work together. My blog is typically about home and thrifting topics, but this seemed like the best place to write out a thoughtful answer about our process, so hang in there, I’ll try to keep it kind of brief.

Patrick and I have really been unofficially working together since design school. We would critique each other’s work, brainstorm together, and honestly, Patrick did most of the mock-up crafting work for my graduating portfolio. He has an amazing attention to detail and a very steady hand. After watching me butcher a printed piece with an x-acto knife and spray mount, I think he mostly stepped in to rescue me because my sloppiness drove him crazy. 

I should clarify that we don’t work full-time together. Patrick still has a day job designing for other people, and I spend much of my day taking care of the kids and the household chores, but we spend a great deal of our evenings and spare time working on freelance projects together. I seriously dream of the day that we can work side-by-side in a larger capacity.

We each have our own styles, and our own strengths and weaknesses, so when a freelance job comes in, it’s typically pretty easy to determine which one of us will take the lead. Branding for yummy bakeries & ice cream will probably land in my court, while icon development, illustration, and the likes will probably be more Patrick. That said, there hasn’t been a a single project that didn’t involve both of us in some capacity. 

Here’s a project as an example where we worked pretty evenly. This foldable card was created for Paper Built, a client that we helped brand last year.

Sarah from Paper Built designs fantastic foldable paper crafts, and she created the foldable template. Then I sketched up what to put on it:

After that, I did a quick vector illustration, but that is not really my expertise, so at that point I turned it over to Patrick.

 He finessed my original and added all of the subtle details that made it so much better (see, he’s an obsessive detail guy).  

In the end, this piece would have fallen much shorter of our standards if only one of us had been involved.

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CONGRATULATIONS!
The winner of the giveaway is Carmen Kock. Thank you everyone who entered here and on Facebook. Don’t forget you can still download a free printable calendar here.

CONGRATULATIONS!

The winner of the giveaway is Carmen Kock. Thank you everyone who entered here and on Facebook. Don’t forget you can still download a free printable calendar here.

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CALENDAR GIVEAWAY 

Christmas cards are going out a little late this year, but since they aren’t really Christmas cards, I don’t feel all that guilty. Patrick and I designed this metallic gold, screen printed 2014 calendar to send to our family and friends in lieu of a traditional Christmas card. 

The design of the calendar goes hand in hand with the new branding we created for our design business, The Mahoney Studio.   

I’m sure many of you share our passion for mid-century modern architecture so I made sure to hang on to an extra print that I’d love to give away. If you want a chance to snag the print, just leave me a comment below (sorry, re-blogging won’t count as an entry), or head over to Facebook and leave your comment there by 5pm on Wednesday, January 15th. The winner will be randomly selected and announced Thursday morning. 

Even if you’re not the winner, you can download and print the calendar for free on our website. Happy New Year!

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[ WAY WASHINGTON ]
We have an embarrassingly large stack of prints and posters sitting in our art shelves that have been waiting for frames, but this Way Washington print by Aaron Draplin has been at the top of the pile. We’ve been fans of Draplin’s work for a while, and Patrick picked up this print at a lecture he gave in Seattle last year.
The frame and glass were thrifted for $14, then Patrick cut a custom matt with our new matt-cutter. The frame was kind of a pinkish gold color, but a few coats of Rustoleum took care of that. 
I think this wall needs a little more art, so I’ll have to go through the pile and figure out which piece will be next. We also picked up some vintage maps at a book sale over the weekend for 5¢ each, and I’m trying to decide if/how I want to display them, too.

Here’s one more look at the wall, and a little sneak peek of the black trim and curtains (that are hanging funny because they still need to be hemmed).
 
You can buy your own Way Washington print here. Have another state you love? Choose from Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, South Carolina, Vermont, Kentucky, Utah, and even Canada.

[ WAY WASHINGTON ]

We have an embarrassingly large stack of prints and posters sitting in our art shelves that have been waiting for frames, but this Way Washington print by Aaron Draplin has been at the top of the pile. We’ve been fans of Draplin’s work for a while, and Patrick picked up this print at a lecture he gave in Seattle last year.

The frame and glass were thrifted for $14, then Patrick cut a custom matt with our new matt-cutter. The frame was kind of a pinkish gold color, but a few coats of Rustoleum took care of that. 

I think this wall needs a little more art, so I’ll have to go through the pile and figure out which piece will be next. We also picked up some vintage maps at a book sale over the weekend for 5¢ each, and I’m trying to decide if/how I want to display them, too.

Here’s one more look at the wall, and a little sneak peek of the black trim and curtains (that are hanging funny because they still need to be hemmed).

 

You can buy your own Way Washington print here. Have another state you love? Choose from Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, South Carolina, Vermont, Kentucky, Utah, and even Canada.

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[ SUMMER WORK ]
Apparently, I’ve been on a bit of a blog break. It’s been somewhat unintentional, but I thought it would be fun to share some of the things that I’ve been working on while taking my break.
I’ve gotten back into illustrating over the summer, and after many years of very sporadic drawing, it’s taken me a bit to find my style again. The little girl and puppy above is one of my favorites that I’ve done so far.
Patrick and I are also taking part in the Cosmic Sans show put together by Constellation Co. on September 6th. We’ll be auctioning off our prints (along with designs from 24 other designers) to benefit Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. and 826 Seattle, a nonprofit writing and tutoring organization for kids.
Here is my letter G (as in Gordo, the space monkey launched from Cape Canaveral in 1958):

And Patrick’s letter A (Apollo):

We’ve also been hard at work on a few logo and branding projects. My favorite is our hand-lettered logo for Ice Cream Social in Tacoma (the company website is still in the works):

Besides designing and illustrating, we were finally able to sand and paint the window trim in the living room. We also hung curtains, but I still need to hem them, so no pictures for now. Soon, though, soon—or maybe not until the kids start school again and my house isn’t covered in legos from sun up to sun down.

[ SUMMER WORK ]

Apparently, I’ve been on a bit of a blog break. It’s been somewhat unintentional, but I thought it would be fun to share some of the things that I’ve been working on while taking my break.

I’ve gotten back into illustrating over the summer, and after many years of very sporadic drawing, it’s taken me a bit to find my style again. The little girl and puppy above is one of my favorites that I’ve done so far.

Patrick and I are also taking part in the Cosmic Sans show put together by Constellation Co. on September 6th. We’ll be auctioning off our prints (along with designs from 24 other designers) to benefit Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. and 826 Seattle, a nonprofit writing and tutoring organization for kids.

Here is my letter G (as in Gordo, the space monkey launched from Cape Canaveral in 1958):

And Patrick’s letter A (Apollo):

We’ve also been hard at work on a few logo and branding projects. My favorite is our hand-lettered logo for Ice Cream Social in Tacoma (the company website is still in the works):

Besides designing and illustrating, we were finally able to sand and paint the window trim in the living room. We also hung curtains, but I still need to hem them, so no pictures for now. Soon, though, soon—or maybe not until the kids start school again and my house isn’t covered in legos from sun up to sun down.

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[ ARE WE THERE YET ]
I found this Rand McNally travel activity book a few weeks ago while doing a quick scan of the kid’s book section at Goodwill. I pulled it off the shelf assuming it would be mostly used, torn, or at the very least, scribbled upon. To my delight, it is in near perfect condition. The middle even has an entire section of perforated stamp/stickers with beautiful one-color illustrations that have never been torn.


The book was designed in 1971 by Bradford/Cout Design, which at one time was based in Illinois. There is virtually no information regarding this company, and as best as I can gather, they folded up shop in the early 2000s. This is the only other thing that I have been able to find online that was designed by them.
Here is one of many game pages in the book:

The secondary illustrations were done by Dorothy Milikan & Terry Rose, and while I prefer the more graphic illustrations done by Bradford/Cout, I think they managed to integrate the two styles quite well, as you can see in this diagram:

Of all the pages in the book (this being just a small selection), this spread is my favorite:

I love how good design is so timeless. I plan to keep this high on the shelf in order to keep excited little hands off of those stamps and games, but I do plan to make some color copies to use in the car for our next long road trip. 

[ ARE WE THERE YET ]

I found this Rand McNally travel activity book a few weeks ago while doing a quick scan of the kid’s book section at Goodwill. I pulled it off the shelf assuming it would be mostly used, torn, or at the very least, scribbled upon. To my delight, it is in near perfect condition. The middle even has an entire section of perforated stamp/stickers with beautiful one-color illustrations that have never been torn.

The book was designed in 1971 by Bradford/Cout Design, which at one time was based in Illinois. There is virtually no information regarding this company, and as best as I can gather, they folded up shop in the early 2000s. This is the only other thing that I have been able to find online that was designed by them.

Here is one of many game pages in the book:

The secondary illustrations were done by Dorothy Milikan & Terry Rose, and while I prefer the more graphic illustrations done by Bradford/Cout, I think they managed to integrate the two styles quite well, as you can see in this diagram:

Of all the pages in the book (this being just a small selection), this spread is my favorite:

I love how good design is so timeless. I plan to keep this high on the shelf in order to keep excited little hands off of those stamps and games, but I do plan to make some color copies to use in the car for our next long road trip. 

Comments
[ AURORA ANTIQUE PAVILION ]

Wow, sorry about all of the cobwebs over here on the blog. I’ve been doing a bit of design work the past couple of weeks, so thrifting and blogging have taken a back seat for the time being. I’ll share the projects with you all when they’re done. I’m pretty excited about them and it’s been a refreshing change to get my hands back into drawing and designing. Just to clarify, those are Patrick’s hands in the picture, though, not mine.  

In the middle of all of the busyness I did find time to take a quick peek inside the Aurora Antique Pavilion with Patrick. It’s been about ten years since the last time we’d been inside, and I sort of forgot about its existence until a friend mentioned it recently.



Let me tell you, this is the type of place that you need the better part of an afternoon to explore. We only had an hour and we tried our best to scan it all, but I know we missed plenty.

My overall (quick) impression is that this is the place to go if you are looking for Pyrex or other kitchenwares. The prices on most of the Pyrex pieces weren’t much more than Goodwill has been charging these days. Also, I saw a ton of Hall china, but it was priced pretty average. 





I was tempted to buy this vintage poker chip set, but our game collection (ahem… it’s almost an entire closet filled with games) is overflowing, so I passed.

Furniture was mostly pre-1950, but there were a few pieces of Mid-Mod scattered around. One area that is definitely worth a look is the furniture warehouse. This section felt like it was off-limits to the public, but apparently it is not. I guess it’s just “proceed at your own risk.” A lot of the furniture was already sold and awaiting pick-up, but there was still plenty for sale at pretty steep discounts. 





So what did I buy? I’ve been working on upgrading my cheap pots and pans to a mixture of All-Clad and cast iron. It’s been an expensive and slow transition, but every time I swap out a teflon-lined piece of junk for a heavy, even-cooking beauty, I know it’s worth it.





I found this vintage Le Creuset 22cm saucepan with a clever skillet lid, and I scooped it up. Well, actually I admired it for a while and walked away. It was Patrick who talked me into going back across the store and claiming it. I suppose his reasoning was two-fold: one, he loves me, two, he gets better food when I have tools for the kitchen that make me enjoy cooking even more.

I wonder how many local folks have been to the Antiques Pavilion? Is it just me who forgot about this fabulous place so awkwardly situated above the Burlington Coat Factory? I can’t wait to get a free morning to go back and dig through it all again.

[ AURORA ANTIQUE PAVILION ]

Wow, sorry about all of the cobwebs over here on the blog. I’ve been doing a bit of design work the past couple of weeks, so thrifting and blogging have taken a back seat for the time being. I’ll share the projects with you all when they’re done. I’m pretty excited about them and it’s been a refreshing change to get my hands back into drawing and designing. Just to clarify, those are Patrick’s hands in the picture, though, not mine.  

In the middle of all of the busyness I did find time to take a quick peek inside the Aurora Antique Pavilion with Patrick. It’s been about ten years since the last time we’d been inside, and I sort of forgot about its existence until a friend mentioned it recently.

Let me tell you, this is the type of place that you need the better part of an afternoon to explore. We only had an hour and we tried our best to scan it all, but I know we missed plenty.

My overall (quick) impression is that this is the place to go if you are looking for Pyrex or other kitchenwares. The prices on most of the Pyrex pieces weren’t much more than Goodwill has been charging these days. Also, I saw a ton of Hall china, but it was priced pretty average. 

I was tempted to buy this vintage poker chip set, but our game collection (ahem… it’s almost an entire closet filled with games) is overflowing, so I passed.

Furniture was mostly pre-1950, but there were a few pieces of Mid-Mod scattered around. One area that is definitely worth a look is the furniture warehouse. This section felt like it was off-limits to the public, but apparently it is not. I guess it’s just “proceed at your own risk.” A lot of the furniture was already sold and awaiting pick-up, but there was still plenty for sale at pretty steep discounts. 

So what did I buy? I’ve been working on upgrading my cheap pots and pans to a mixture of All-Clad and cast iron. It’s been an expensive and slow transition, but every time I swap out a teflon-lined piece of junk for a heavy, even-cooking beauty, I know it’s worth it.

I found this vintage Le Creuset 22cm saucepan with a clever skillet lid, and I scooped it up. Well, actually I admired it for a while and walked away. It was Patrick who talked me into going back across the store and claiming it. I suppose his reasoning was two-fold: one, he loves me, two, he gets better food when I have tools for the kitchen that make me enjoy cooking even more.

I wonder how many local folks have been to the Antiques Pavilion? Is it just me who forgot about this fabulous place so awkwardly situated above the Burlington Coat Factory? I can’t wait to get a free morning to go back and dig through it all again.

Comments
[ BARTERING ]
I mentioned in an earlier post that we recently spent a few days in Portland, relaxing after our very emotional Montana trip. We were able to stay in a guest cottage free of charge, thanks to a little deal we worked out with Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate. Jump on over to her site and take a look at the new blog header that Patrick designed as our part of the deal.
What I loved most about this deal, besides getting the opportunity to meet a blog friend in person, was that Katy managed to figure out a way to trade services for every step in getting her new header up and running. Actually, I had no idea how many people were involved in the process.
The great thing about bartering is that it doesn’t always have to be an even dollar-for-dollar trade. It’s more about what something is worth to you, how much you want it, or how much you are willing to help someone out. If you love to barter, I’d love to hear other creative bartering stories.

[ BARTERING ]

I mentioned in an earlier post that we recently spent a few days in Portland, relaxing after our very emotional Montana trip. We were able to stay in a guest cottage free of charge, thanks to a little deal we worked out with Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate. Jump on over to her site and take a look at the new blog header that Patrick designed as our part of the deal.

What I loved most about this deal, besides getting the opportunity to meet a blog friend in person, was that Katy managed to figure out a way to trade services for every step in getting her new header up and running. Actually, I had no idea how many people were involved in the process.

The great thing about bartering is that it doesn’t always have to be an even dollar-for-dollar trade. It’s more about what something is worth to you, how much you want it, or how much you are willing to help someone out. If you love to barter, I’d love to hear other creative bartering stories.

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[ SMALL FINDS ]
I’ve been feeling quite satisfied by our recent furniture  acquisitions, so I’ve been spending more of my time at the thrift store  pouring over some of the sections to which I don’t typically give as  much attention. Though I usually do a general scan of all the shelves  when at a thrift store, searching through the rows of books, stacks of  dishes, and wedged together art can eat up more time than I have. This  change-up in my routine has yielded some great new—though small—finds. 
I love finding vintage children’s books, especially ones with great  illustrations. I found all of these on one shelf during my last trip to  Deseret Industries:


The kids are really drawn to these stories and have been asking me to read them over and over and over.  I really don’t mind, especially since most of them are ones that I  remember fondly from my childhood. I had forgotten how great the  Frances books are! We check out a ton of books from the library, so I’m  surprised that it hadn’t occurred to me to look for them there. You can  see some of my other favorite children’s books that I’ve collected here and here.
In the housewares department, I found a new sugar bowl—I’ve been looking for one for quite a while. My previous one was top-heavy  and the shape didn’t really go with the little creamer that I  bought at Goodwill last year. Though I would have loved it if this Mikasa pattern would have been made in white, the black and white combination seems to be a new accidental theme in my kitchen.

Lastly (though there were several nice, but un-blog-worthy finds), look at these Hanna Andersson swedish moccasins.  They retail for $18–$22 but I picked these up at Deseret for 50¢ in  almost new condition. They are too big for Tula right now (and sadly,  too small for me), so I’ll tuck them away for a few years until she can  fit into them. It’s always nice to have a little stash of clothes and  shoes for those times when I realize that the kids have had a  growth-spurt.

Aren’t they a little “Wicked Witch of the East” looking? I adore them! It seems that this pattern is no longer available, and the ones that are on their site now are a little boring. I’m so glad to have run across them.

[ SMALL FINDS ]

I’ve been feeling quite satisfied by our recent furniture acquisitions, so I’ve been spending more of my time at the thrift store pouring over some of the sections to which I don’t typically give as much attention. Though I usually do a general scan of all the shelves when at a thrift store, searching through the rows of books, stacks of dishes, and wedged together art can eat up more time than I have. This change-up in my routine has yielded some great new—though small—finds. 

I love finding vintage children’s books, especially ones with great illustrations. I found all of these on one shelf during my last trip to Deseret Industries:

The kids are really drawn to these stories and have been asking me to read them over and over and over. I really don’t mind, especially since most of them are ones that I remember fondly from my childhood. I had forgotten how great the Frances books are! We check out a ton of books from the library, so I’m surprised that it hadn’t occurred to me to look for them there. You can see some of my other favorite children’s books that I’ve collected here and here.

In the housewares department, I found a new sugar bowl—I’ve been looking for one for quite a while. My previous one was top-heavy and the shape didn’t really go with the little creamer that I bought at Goodwill last year. Though I would have loved it if this Mikasa pattern would have been made in white, the black and white combination seems to be a new accidental theme in my kitchen.

Lastly (though there were several nice, but un-blog-worthy finds), look at these Hanna Andersson swedish moccasins. They retail for $18–$22 but I picked these up at Deseret for 50¢ in almost new condition. They are too big for Tula right now (and sadly, too small for me), so I’ll tuck them away for a few years until she can fit into them. It’s always nice to have a little stash of clothes and shoes for those times when I realize that the kids have had a growth-spurt.

Aren’t they a little “Wicked Witch of the East” looking? I adore them! It seems that this pattern is no longer available, and the ones that are on their site now are a little boring. I’m so glad to have run across them.

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[ PATRICK’S DAY JOB ]

I’ve mentioned before that Patrick and I are both graphic designers, but I wanted to share this behind the scenes video of one aspect of Patrick’s job as Art Director for our church.

So what does this have to do with thrifting? One of the “posters” in the video is an image of a barren tree. That tree is actually a bonsai tree that was purchased for the shoot. It had all of its leaves trimmed off, so we have adopted the tree, and are currently nursing it back to health with what little sunshine we can provide it. I found a great container at Deseret Industries for $2 to transplant it into, we just need to figure out some drainage first. 

Also, I just wanted to share my husband’s hard work. If you want to see more of his design, you can visit our other site The Mahoney.

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