Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunset Magazine's wonderful books...

     Most of you out there have probably heard of Sunset Magazine and have seen the books they published over the years. They've put out books on every home improvement/western living subject imaginable. If you're ever in a thrift store, you've probably at least run across a Sunset BBQ book or (what some people feel is the bible of gardening) Western Gardening Book. Anyway, for my money, vintage Sunset books are truly the bibles of mid-century decorating and  DIY home improvement, and an incredible guide to the lifestyles of the time. They were geared towards the western part of the country and the company started out as a magazine that was provided on trains to promote the "West" at the turn of the century. At that time, the "wild west" had a bad reputation and they were trying to drum up interest in travellers from other parts of the U.S.  Sunset Magazine's headquarters is located in Menlo Park, CA-just a hop, skip, and a jump away from where I live in Sunnyvale. If you ever have the chance to check it out, it's totally worth the trip! They hold annual open houses that feature new ideas for green living, gardening tips, cook-offs, and so much more.

    My hubby got me hooked on collecting the vintage Sunset books a few years back. He already had several different books that had belonged to his dad, including my personal favorite "Japanese Gardens". We always see them at estate sales and thrift stores and the best thing about them is that they're cheap! You can usually pick them up at garage sales for 50 cents and I've never paid more than a dollar for one anywhere. I buy what I don't already have but if I do already have it, I'll buy it again if I find the older edition. My goal is to have the oldest editions of every book since most of them date from the 50's and early 60's. Here's two I found on Sunday at the aforementioned "umbrella" estate:

I already had this one but it dated from the 70's-this edition is 1960 and is absolutely amazing inside. They feature cabins from the woods to the desert to the beach and even show you how to decorate the interior. I also found this:

Again, I already had a newer version of this one but the cover was different. This one dates from 1960 as well. Our house was built in 1959 so I like to keep the editions closest to that time period.  For the most part, I just look through the books and drool over the amazing yards or lanais. Some of the projects in these books are extremely ambitious but I love that everything was written so you can do most of them yourself with minimal skills.

One last find at the "umbrella" estate:
Incredible pale blue and silver lurex gloves! Of course they don't fit me but they're going to make a great birthday gift for my friend Melissa (who doesn't read this blog so I'm not giving anything away!) in a couple weeks. I'm pretty sure they'll fit her, and if they don't she can add them to the fabulous glove collection on the wall of her bedroom.

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