It’s Saturday. Guess What We Are Going To Talk About?

I pulled the vintage typewriter stand out from under its load of boxes and took it out onto the deck today to get a good look at it. And I love everything about it. It might not look like much at first glance, but you will have to trust me when I tell you that it is entrancing.

Mr. Nosy checking out something different on the deck.

The wood top has what one might call character.The top is scratched, stained, and gouged. Its got pieces of tape that are almost part of the wood now they’ve been on so long. But I already know what this is going to look like after I give it a couple of good applications of Old English Scratch Cover and so I think I’ll just do that. Sami has offered to sand the top down and shellac it and I know he’ll do a good job and it will be beautiful and like new but I think I prefer to keep the evidence of a former life and leave the marks alone.

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Verging on just a little bit too much character.
Dudes, it’s a genuine Hi-Lo Typewriter Stand by METALSTAND. The hipsters love these things and there are dozens for sale at any given moment on eBay and etsy , in vintage furniture shops and on craigslist. Most people (young know-nothings) describe this as being made in Philadelphia but the blurry print below the “Hi” that you can’t quite make out here says





so I think that means the patent was registered at the U.S. Patent and Trade mark office in Philadelphia. I don’t know how old this is – all google searches produce links to these for sale not to anything about the item itself, but I think that the fact that this went into production before the foot pedal mechanism to adjust the height was patented is a clue that it was made before America became law suit happy. When was that? A bigger clue though is the excruciatingly correct punctuation. When was the last time it was considered proper to put a period after a state abbreviation? Before zip codes were introduced, I think. And the exquisite PHILA., – a period after the abbreviation plus a comma. So exact. This table was made back when there were rules and everybody stuck to them.

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A period after every abbreviation: PAT. PENDING REG. PHILA., PA.
It’s got full length brass piano hinges joining the  top pieces and a charming 1 2 identifying the top? or the size of the flap?. That sentence was a fine example of how sloppy punctuation can be in modern America and no one would bat an eye let alone criticize or refer to a “rule”.

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How it got scratched and paint-blobbed on the underside I don’t know.
The spacing and alignment of the stamping on each side is different so I think these marks must have been made by banging on two separate number-shaped chisel things. I love the idea that somebody’s job was stamping numbers onto table top parts.

1 2 plus some fairly vigorous scratching.
And so now that I am face-to-face with the beautiful reality of it,  I am abandoning my turquoise spray paint and woodgrain contact paper plan of last week. The largest majority of vintage typewriter stands on the internet are offered for sale as found (yard salers/garbage pickers), the next largest amount are refinished pieces in the $300-$500 range (hipster furniture refinishers) but there is also a disturbing amount of “upscaled” ones that the chalk paint and decoupage crowd over at Pinterest has gotten their paws on.

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Quel horreur! Thank you Lord for helping me to dodge the turquoise spray paint bullet on this one.
Confession: I do kind of like the addition of a tray to the bottom of that gold and wallpaper one. I might do the same to hold the watering can and fish emulsion drops that my outdoor plants are going to need to make it inside for the length of a New Jersey winter.

UPDATE: I turned my back for a short spin through Goodwill and Dollar Tree and a helpful husband pulled out his sander and “helped” me with the tabletop.


Channeling My Inner DIYer


I’m sure that you’re all on pins and needles waiting for the thrilling details of my latest business trip to Denver. I apologize if this is the case because it’s not going to happen. I was too busy while I was there to give you the blow-by-blow as it was happening and I got home too late last night to do anything but eat part of a cold Italian sub sandwich and one Jelly Krimpet then crash to sleep. When I got up in the morning my time was occupied with drinking 6 glasses of water, eating the rest of the Italian sub and going back to bed.

And now I’m upstairs hiding from some workmen that Sami hired to help with a clean out of the basement. But I’m sorry that I can’t focus on travel blogging1 or even meals on the road blogging 2 because I have this idea, see?

An old half-baked idea that I was sort of toying with was to find some kind of windowsill height shelf to put by the kitchen window so that I can winter over some potted plants I’d like to hang on to and maybe keep a pot of herbs alive in case I feel like cooking something up once or twice over the next six or seven months. I took a half-hearted spin through Goodwill and didn’t really see any inspiration there, not on the local Craigslist either.

Lots of interesting stuff is coming up out of that basement. Stuff we’ve long forgotten about and/or that I didn’t even know was down there. So much good stuff that we never really needed to save in the first place (SAMI !). I reserve the right to fret some other time about the fate of my extensive and eccentric dish collection and how much it saddens me to give that to Goodwill because they will all end up chipped or smashed before anyone else gets a chance to love them.

Anyway, one of the things that emerged from the depths was an old-fashioned typewriter stand that looks pretty much like this one …


… except with an overall coating of rust and cob webs. I saw this in the garage last week and thought it might fit the bill and so I started dreaming up how I would spray paint it. I had a general notion about a soft jade-y turquoise for the base and some undetermined lighter table surface. Maybe off white with some gray dry brushed on here and there. Or sponged on. Or slapped on and then mostly dragged off to produce a wood grain pattern3.

And so when I brought myself up here, I thought I might start searching for the right shade of spray paint for the base and then moved on to looking for something for the top. The search went like this: glossy spray paint > matte spray paint > hammered finished spray paint > stone finish spray paint > contact paper. And now OMG I CANT STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS:

D C Fix Adhesive Film in the “Rustic” pattern

Have I ever mentioned that I am a Contact Paper Master Emeritus ? And that I once covered 12 sets of metal cabinet doors with contact paper that looked like 4″ ceramic tiles in a busy white, royal blue and yellow pattern that needed a four way match and it came out perfect? It was fantastic and it overwhelmed ever single person who set foot into my apartment but gawd how I loved it.

And so I can certainly handle putting contact paper onto the surface of typewriter stand – main section plus two drop leaves. Pfft. Piece of cake4. And guess what? This company also makes the product in a pattern called Woodgrain Oak Sheffield Pearly Grey and so I could still employ the perfect light turquoise spray paint for the base.


Now bear in mind that Sami is not going to get either one of these ideas at all. #1 he is non-visual so I can explain until I’m blue in the face what I’m going to do and what its going to look like and he will not be able to imagine it. #2 If I go with the turquoise/gray idea, he will never stop me but but he will also never appreciate it when its done. He just will not be able to be at ease in a world with a turquoise typewriter stand in it. In fact, I know he’s still struggling with why anyone would want to use a typewriter stand as a plant holder at all. He is a traditionalist and it is beyond him why anyone would stray from  established/expected colors. Chances are good he will more easily accept the appearance of a brownish wood grain/brown base version, but again he will be bothered by the fact that I put contact paper onto a perfectly sound metal albeit rusty/filthy object that was just fine without plastic enhancement.

Time has passed, the workers are gone and I’m headed downstairs to mop away the foot-printy evidence. And to think that only yesterday I was living the glamorous life of a High Powered Executive Business Woman with access to an endless supply of sandwiches and protein bars.

1 painless this time

2 protein bar, ham and swiss on rye, hot wings/beer, protein bar, ham and swiss on rye, lobster tails/lots of wine, protein bar, ham and swiss on rye, reuben/beer, breakfast buffet, protein bar, cheese and fruit plate/gin.

3 From Our Department of Too Much Free Time.

 4  Only slightly worried that I keep thinking that I can still do what I did as well as I did it when I was younger. Evidence points to the contrary now. [Note to self: Ignore and forge ahead!]