So, this wedding thing that I’ve been brainstorming / ruminating / stress-sobbing about for the last, oh, year, is happening in less than two weeks. Things are getting really real! My dress is done as of Friday, the candles are sitting in countless garbage bags in my kitchen, my hairstyle is still half-baked, and the last minute details are piling up: namely, what should we do on our post-wedding trip to Portland, Maine?
We decided to go to Portland because it’s close, cheap, and super picturesque — lighthouses and whatnot. Jeff’s brother lived there for a few years, so he’s been before, but I’ve never ventured to the land of Maine. What should we do? I’ve yet to eat a whole lobster, so that’s definitely on my list. Is there fall foliage in October? Any shops that can’t be missed? And I’d love to hear any recommendations for day trips or museums nearby. I’m all ears!
Let me begin by saying that I am not a summer person: not now, probably not ever. (Though I was a pool rat in my younger days.) Summer in New York is a humid, soul sucking, demoralizing experience, and frankly, I could do without it. Just chuck the whole damn season. I wouldn’t miss it!
Fall, however: allow me to rhapsodize for a moment. Tights! Light jackets! Woodsmoke and apples and foliage, oh my! Fall is when I really, truly enjoy my surroundings, and the annual “back to school” rush for new clothes just adds to the excitement. Though I’m not going back to school anytime soon, I’m totally digging the letterman’s jacket, saddle shoes, Audrey Horne look for fall. Call me Peggy, let’s get a milkshake!
On the other hand, I’m also equally into the leather jacket, motorcyle old lady look. More on that to come…!
We’ve been working on music for the wedding today — the first dance, processional, stuff like that. (I never realized how much my taste skews toward heart-wrenching, sad sack tunes — not a good look for a happy occasion like a wedding.) Here’s a contender for the reception: Barbara Lewis’s “Baby, I’m Yours.”
I’ve been pining for an antique Odd Fellows banner for the longest time. These hand-painted silk flags are not only beautiful — they’re also covered with amazing symbols, like beehives, conjoined links, hands, hearts and skulls. (In other words, much of the same iconography that inspired our wedding invitations.)
Because I’ve had such great luck putting it to the universe before, I thought I’d try again. I’m looking for a talented painter / embroidery or needlework kinda person to recreate the imagery from our wedding invitation as a custom silk banner, with some gold fringe on the edges. Hand-painting, screen-printing, iron-ons or embroidery will work, as long as it looks great. (And I’ll definitely pay for your efforts!)
Just the thought of this wondrous piece on my guestbook table makes me squeal with delight. If you know someone who can make this dream a reality, send ‘em my way!
When I became obsessed with ancient Grecian gold laurel crowns, I thought I had no hope of finding something similar. I mean, those crowns are artifacts in a museum; there didn’t seem a chance in hell that I’d be able to find, much less afford, anything that measured up to those precious golden wreaths.
Until, on a whim, I searched Etsy for an antique golden crown. Lo and behold, vintage seller Pippa Tree had the most intriguing golden and silver crowns. In fact, I found one such piece — so delicate and not like a crown crown (as I have no princess aspirations, only Grecian) — that really took my heart. This tiara, along with the matching boutonnière, was originally worn in 1936 for a German couple’s fiftieth wedding anniversary (meaning they were married in 1886 — whoa!). Seeing it in person was an eye-opening experience, and I felt truly lucky to have found something so special.
The genius of the series, which was developed in 2004 by the museum’s Director and Chief Animator, Adam Lerner, lies in its format: two speakers give back-to-back presentations on seemingly unrelated topics, such as Hegel and spontaneous human combustion, or fingerprinting and traditional Sumatran architecture, and, miraculously, the juxtaposition and unexpected overlaps turn out to shed new light on each topic.
August 16 Fingerprinting & Traditional Sumatran Architecture
August 23 Mongolian Gobi Bears & the Fourth Dimension
August 30 Psychic Animals & Vincent van Gogh
So jealous! While I can’t be there, it inspires me to adopt the concept and do something similar here in New York. Just thinking about potential topics makes me super excited: the oyster, Egyptology, Victorian cooking, glassblowing, Lord Byron, worms…
Which speakers and topics would you be interested in?
Somehow, I have never been to San Francisco, but I really want to go — and one of the stores that would top my list is Metier SF. Everything they stock is pure magic, and when I came across the photos for their new Commitment collection, it was done just as well as everything else they put their hands upon. The dresses, those rings! I want them all. Or just to get married many times over, to have a celebration in each style. Which is your favorite?
I would say that I’d just attach some earring hooks and call it a day, but I’m pretty sure the size would make more of an impression than I’m looking for. Now the question is how a lady might get a smaller version of these drawer pulls. Do you know someone who could cast something similar? Someone who sells something with the same oomph?
Funny story: I always had a waterbed growing up — in fact, I transitioned from a crib directly into a waterbed, and only started sleeping in a “real bed” when I was 17. (Why I had a waterbed, I do not know — my parents had one too. Better for your back? I just know it was a major novelty among my friends.)
One of the many advantages of sleeping on a waterbed, besides the heated water and wiggly texture, was that I could easily attach my trusty orange pup tent to the bed itself. In fact, I spent a few months of my life sleeping INSIDE the tent, on top of my bed. It was a dream come true: all the fun of sleeping in my tent, but inside, with no bugs. It was like a little fort!
Yep, I’m deep down the wedding hole — and loving it. I promise programming as usual will return soon.
Now, to the news at hand: My wedding bands are done, and I’m so in love with them. After purchasing an antique coral ring (and subsequently losing the middle stone while shopping at the grocery store, which left me bummed for days), I decided to pursue antique restoration. After viewing my options for replacement stones — opal, turquoise, contemporary coral and rose cut diamonds — I went with the obvious choice and decided to make the band into my wedding ring. The rose cut diamonds are true to the time period — the ring was probably made in the teens or 1920s — and so damn pretty!
However, I’d originally pined for a wide band: something substantial. After weighing my options, I decided to bite the bullet and finally buy a Satomi Kawakita ring as a friend for my band, since I’ve always loved her work. However, when I got to Catbird, two just looked so much better than one…and hey, I love symmetry! So a stacking situation, it is. Needless to say, I am one happy camper.
And check out my mint green manicure, grown out as always. I was also slightly reticent about posting a photo of my hands this close-up, but whatcha gonna do? I’m excited, man!
So! I’m having quite the time deciding on the earrings for my wedding ensemble. My wedding “look” is pretty old timey: a lace bolero jacket, a velvet sash at the waist, long white dress, and I plan to wear my hair down. Since I’m not wearing a veil and won’t be wearing any other jewelry, the earrings are key, and wearing anything too modern seems like it wouldn’t fit with the rest of the wedding details.
I’ve primarily been searching for gold Victorian earrings, usually with coral. However, I’m also open to jet and turquoise. I just want something to stand out against my dark hair; there was a time when I might have gone with big ol’ rhinestones, but that’s just not my style anymore.
So I’m putting it to you. Which of these earrings do you think fits best with the details I’ve mentioned? Which gets your vote? And if you’ve seen any earrings that you think would float my boat, I wanna see those too!
[All of these earrings are from eBay and Rent the Runway.]
Prior to the invention of the barometer in the 17th century, weather vanes were indispensable instruments for observing and predicting the weather. These 45¢ denominated stamps feature photographs of five eye-catching weather vanes made in the United States during the 19th century. All five weather vanes — a cow, an eagle, two roosters, and a centaur — belong to the collection of the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont.
Before 1850, American weather vanes were largely the work of individual craftsmen or skilled amateurs. However, during the second half of the 19th century, factories around Boston and New York City began mass-producing them, ushering in what collectors now consider the golden age of American weather vanes. Today, weather vanes from this period are not only valuable collectibles, but also intriguing examples of American folk art.
At last! I’m so in love with our wedding invitations, designed by the talented Yas of Quill and Fox. I worked with her to integrate our Odd Fellows-inspired ideas into our invites, and she did an amazing job channeling our vision and setting the tone for our wedding. (Love that Eye of Providence.) I highly recommend you reach out to Quill and Fox about your own project or buy some of her cards, because, y’know, she rules.
Also! The gorgeous photos above were taken by Yas. How I wish those little brass hands came with the set! Maybe I can find some of my own…
In ancient Greece, wreaths made from plants like laurel, ivy, and myrtle were awarded to athletes, soldiers, and royalty. Similar wreaths were designed in gold and silver for the same purposes or for religious functions. This example conveys the language of love.
A plant sacred to the goddess Aphrodite, myrtle was a symbol of love. Greeks wore wreaths made of real myrtle leaves at weddings and banquets.
By the Hellenistic period (300-30 BC), the wreaths were made of gold foil; too fragile to be worn, they were created primarily to be buried with the dead as symbols of life’s victories. The naturalistic myrtle leaves and blossoms on this wreath were cut from thin sheets of gold, exquisitely finished with stamped and incised details, and then wired onto the stems.
Today I came to a realization: I need a golden laurel wreath for my wedding. But where? How? Not real gold such as this, obviously, but something classic: no sequins; something timeless, not gaudy or glitzy. I had such great luck in finding a ceramicist to create a custom wedding topper (more on that later: thanks, Robin!) that I’m putting it out to the universe once again. Recommendations? Lay ‘em on me.
I wrote to the shop owner, Constance, in the hopes of finding out more info. The story just got better. In fact, it went back over seventy years, to the days when the rings’ handy creator, Bob Dodd, was a sailor. According to Constance:
Bob said that when he started as a sailor in 1937, making rings from celluloid was a crafty thing to do, but few people made more than one or two because the process was so time consuming and labor intensive. Each of these intricate rings was made by hand — without the use of molds or melting — by cutting up raw materials such as old celluloid toothbrushes, hand mirrors, vanity trays, combs, piano keys, guitar picks, umbrella handles, pocket knife handles, accordion pieces. (Bob said he once even used a piece from the windshield of a helicopter or small plane.) These pieces are then filed, pieced together, and filed again. This process can take a master craftsman a day or more to complete.
What is it about mold? Decay. Rot. Growth. Seeing something comes from — well, nothing — never fails to amuse me. The last time I checked the fridge, I’ve got some green beans. Two weeks later, there’s a wooly hamster living in my crisper. Said rodent will eventually make its way to the trash, but not before I’ve analyzed the mold and, y’know, sniffed it a bit.
Beyond the ephemeral nature of produce, I’m quite smitten with the still lives of Klaus Pichler. His One Third project explores the idea of consumption and wasted food — according to a UN study, one third of the world’s food goes to waste. Living in New York, I believe it. Go halfsies.
It’s no secret that I love New York. However, this city is just so damn big that it’ll take me years to see all of it (if ever!). I really enjoy poking around the city’s storied past, and there’s no more amazing location than New York’s Financial District, also known as the “Canyon of Heroes.” Home to ticker tape parades, decadent sky scrapers and lots of dudes in power suits, the area is so much more than a 9/11 or Occupy Wall Street tourist destination (which is why most seem to seek it out, but to each their own).
For me, the Financial District is a direct link to New York’s gritty / glam history. Gorgeous, Art Nouveau wonders like the Woolworth Building (I’m a bit obsessed with the man), Trinity Church, the teeny tiny side streets…it really inspires a sense of wonder, and the streets really do feel a bit like valleys in between those massive buildings.
Walking the oldest byways of the city — Maiden Lane, Broadway, Pine — it’s crazy to imagine how many have come before us. And now you can experience a bit of a time machine with large, beautiful portraits at NYC Past, my new favorite tumblr. So many hats! And to think I just walked down Wall Street, past the larger-than-life George Washington statue last week. Insanity.
And it’s not just the Financial District. Check out these actual sleep in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow (!!!). And the Flatiron Building! (Which I’m usually only near when I go to MAC or Shake Shack. Such an odd association.)
Find more huge, gorgeous pieces of history on NYC Past.
My name is Alison and this is where I obsess // muse // and drop all of the curious, obsolete, eccentric and otherwise noteworthy things I come across on the weird, wide expanse that is the Internet. Also, cute cat posts.