Somehow, I’ve still yet to visit Dead Horse Bay. The area has been used as a facility to manufacture fertilizer from the remains of dead animals (that’s where the Dead Horse comes from), at one point produced fish oil from menhaden caught in the bay, and served as a landfill for New York City’s garbage. Such history! Getting some grime under my fingernails and digging up 100-year-old sunken bottles is my idea of a fantasy weekend.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Loyal Luxe has done it again. The kitty teepee and mini faux bearskin rug are all kinds of cuteness.
Are you familiar with Krampus, the chain whipping, cloven hoofed companion of Saint Nicholas? If you’ve ever been on the naughty side of Santa’s list, be warned: you’ve got a lot more than coal to worry about in your stocking (like being carried off in a basket to the depths of hell). Read more about this demonic Christmas cryptid on the Etsy Blog.
Music for Mondays.
From top left: Wooly Helmet by Knittles — For those who need to be very warm, very stylish and very foreboding to invading Visigoths. Human Hair Neckpiece by vanderglas; The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images — Very handy for dream analysis. Also, fascinating. Salt Lamp — These glowing orbs ionize the air and provide a healthy, salt-infused glow to any room. (More salt to come.) Blah Blah Mini Blanket — Make sure your infant acquaintances get jaded early! Black Honey by Occulter — This buckwheat honey is almost pitch black. Locally sourced in Brooklyn, it’s full of antioxidants (and fun to watch as it dissolves in a cup of tea). Gold Tube Bracelet by LouLou and Maxime — Simple and beautiful: an ideal gift. Black Planet Bank by Paul and Kate Studio — An elegant take on the piggy bank. You will have to implode a planet to get your money back. Vintage Russian Wristwatch — Why give a normal watch when you can give one with history? Black Lava Sea Salt — For a flavorful finish. I’m also quite smitten with all of the smoky salts, especially the hickory smoked sea salt. The Last Whole Earth Catalog — Stay hungry. Stay foolish. A classic for any library, and perhaps a predecessor to the internet as we know it. ASPCA Donation — Fight animal cruelty and donate on a kitten or puppy’s behalf. (Pretty sure this is my favorite gift out of the bunch.)
“When/ This You/ See/ Remember/ Me When/ I.am. Far/ From The(e)”
These delicate etched coins are, in fact, handmade love tokens (“leaden hearts”) made by English convicts being transported to Australia. Whether these artifacts were actually given to a beloved or stashed somewhere to be found by a stranger, being deported for the life of a convict didn’t provide much hope for a reunion. Remembrance was the goal. According to the National Museum of Australia Canberry,
“Convict love tokens, typically made of smoothed down coins and engraved or stippled with a message, provide a poignant, personal insight into the transportation system, as well as its transnational character. Also known as ‘leaden hearts’, the tokens stem from traditional sailors’ farewells. Convict tokens were made for the whole of the Transportation period in New South Wales and Tasmania, with the majority produced during the 1820s and 1830s. As objects purposely made by or for convicts to give as mementoes, to be left behind when the prisoner was transported, the tokens are a unique part of the record of a convict’s transportation experience.”
I thought I’d start this gift guide with some more of my “favorite things,” à la Oprah (you can scream if you want to). There’s nothing better than giving what you already know and love, right?
Clockwise from top left: Plants of Economic Importance Poster, Tobacco — I have one of these German Scientific Educational charts in the domestic cat print hung in my kitchen (love!), but I’m quite entranced by their new “history of industry” plant designs. Rick’s Picks Cocktail Pack — Make a kick ass spread with your stinkiest cheese and these delectable pickled treats. Bulk Mary Janes — I am a sucker for old timey penny candy, especially Mary Janes. Satisfy a friend’s nostalgia and sweet tooth at the same time. Rocks and Minerals: A Guide to Familiar Minerals, Gems, Ores and Rocks — Finding vintage and used copies of this awesome mineral and gem guide just got easy with Amazon. (Make sure to pick up a 10-pack of geodes to crack while you’re at it, geologist you!) Taxidermy Piranha; Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not — This book is absurdity. On crack. I highly recommend it for anyone…well, anyone who reads this blog. As the review reads, “Social pariahs, disgraced journalists, brooding malcontented sociopaths, and anyone who enjoys dark, twisted, and profoundly funny writing will find a home in Wigfield.” And I’ve heard the audiobook is even better. NARS Limited Edition Vintage Nail Polish in Zizi, King Kong and Mash — Because metallic is purty. Minnetonka Kilty Suede Moccasins in Tan Suede — I wear my mine around the house as a substitute for slippers, as well as for errands. Super cute. Subscription to The Believer — Give the gift of clever literary articles and musings for a whole year. Set of Six Rustic Bell Ornaments — These could be festive holiday ornaments, but I’d hang them around the house as miniature wind chimes. The jute cord is a nice touch.
More gift guides to come!
Since I knew we’d be going out to eat this Thanksgiving, I felt that I had to bring it in the kitchen when it came to a dessert. The problem? As much as I might try, I’m just not much of a cook…yet! I knew I’d need something that was a crowd pleaser, as well as achievable on very little time. Kate pointed me in the direction of Emily’s brownie recipe, and I haven’t been able to stop mowing down since they came out of the oven. They are the best consistency: equal parts chewy and crispy-edged. I highly recommend them!
For your lip smackin’ satisfaction: Emily’s Brownies
You will need: 1 medium sized pot, parchment, and an 8″ sq. baking dish
1 stick butter (8 tbsp)
1/2 c Brown Sugar
1 c White Sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
1. Preheat Oven to 390 degrees
2. Melt butter in pot on stovetop.
3. Remove butter from heat, let cool about a minute, then add sugars (simply use the pot as your bowl). Mix well.
4. Add eggs, flour, cocoa, salt, and generous tablespoon-splash of vanilla, and mix well.
5. Line baking dish (I use a glass one) with parchment, pour in batter, and pop in oven.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes, I test with a knife in the center and remove when only a few little crumbs cling to the knife.
7. Cool one hour or overnight.
Composing gift guides is a lot harder than you’d think (though I do love spending inordinate amounts of time on the internet). To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t say that I’m a great gift-giver; I usually just try to give something that I have enjoyed and appreciated myself, as opposed to going out on a limb and guessing that my sister wants a George Foreman grill or an iPad or some other random gadget. (I’m so perplexed by the holidays being all about big ticket electronics as gifts. The amount spent does not equal how much you love someone, and it never will. Sorry!) As such, in the spirit of this blog and the types of things I’d normally post about as being cool or something I’d like for myself — well, that mentality has now been channelled into gift ideas that may or may not include taxidermy, artwork and maybe even baby hats. I hope you enjoy!
From top left: Uncle Milton Moon in My Room — Because toys make the best gifts for everyone, and the novelty of the moon never wears off. Test Tube Vase by Pigeon Toe Ceramics; Pendleton Silver Bark Blanket — Perfect for snuggling and looks pretty as a picture on a bed. 5 Year Diary — I’m a lazy diarist, so having the ability to start and stop wherever I’d like, while maintaining a five year timeline, is perfect for me. I love personal reflection! Diptyque Baies Noir Candle — If I had the money, I’d bathe in the candle wax. Seriously, these are the best smelling candles I’ve ever come across, and I’m a candle snob, so, there’s that. Bolinas Reflection Print by Windy Lane Studio — Some are too timid to guess another’s taste when it comes to art. I say, go with your gut and stick to the classics. Smoking Mittens — If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Shelter by Lloyd Kahn — From yurts to castles to holes in the ground, the history of shelter is laid out in this magnificent book. I can’t recommend it enough. Charm Earrings in “Dead Kennedys Phase” by Giles and Brother — I hope I don’t even have to explain this one. Just shove that pin through your ear and jam.
Happy shopping! More gift guides to come.
The horsehair and weave jewelry trend is finally starting to take off on Etsy, and I couldn’t be happier. This bangin’ pair of vintage horsehair duster earrings by Dollybird are on my holiday wish list. Gift guides to come!
P.S. That lip color is something else. I want that too!
I didn’t eat turkey this Thanksgiving — lobster ravioli, more cheese than I could carry and a whole lot of anchovies, in fact (not a traditionalist, if you didn’t already know). However, these hunting target tea towels by Bless get me in the mood for the season! I’m a bit squeamish about violence of any kind — I just started watching Deadwood and I spend half the time with a blanket over my head, though I love/hate the characters dearly — but the thought of shooting a gun at a target is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time. Someday!
Also, good god am I a parenthetical queen! I love me some asides.
This blanket coat is equal parts beer guzzlin’ at the high school football game and high fashion. The plaid — sweet jeebus. Want.
If you’re in need of an endless scroll of antique pieced quilts, dogs from the 1930s, rustic interiors and all kinds of handmade one-offs, you should probably saunter over to Old Chum. What a visual smorgasbord!
Butch Anthony first charmed me with his incredible log cabin in the woods of Alabama. Now he’s listed his repurposed found object artwork in an Etsy shop, Museum of Wonder. Butch describes his art, which includes old family portraits (not his own) embellished with skeletons or creatures of his own imagining, as “intertwangleism.” His definition: “Inter, meaning to mix,” he said, “and twang, a distinct way of speaking. If I make up my own ‘ism,’ no one can say anything or tell me I’m doing it wrong.” I’m quite a fan!
This may look like an innocent carrot cake, but it’s actually more of a Thanksgiving Frankenstein. Chow has put together a convenient layer cake made of turkey, cranberry sauce, marshmallows and sweet potatoes, all surrounded by mashed potato frosting. It’s economical, a time and space saver, yes, but it kind of reminds me of the people that take everything on their plate and mix it together, with the familiar refrain, “It’s all going to the same place anyway, right?” (That kind of pragmatism is lost on me. Also, ew.) This turducken mentality is what makes America great. And kind of gross. But I’d still eat it. Can you tell that I can’t decide if I’m disgusted or hungry?
(And let’s not even talk about that dessert monstrosity, “the cherpumple” — apple, cherry and pumpkin pies baked inside a cake. Is nothing sacred?)
Whoever did the art direction for Jack Spade’s gift guides — I’m golf clapping in your direction. Now I want to be an art director, if only to create fantasy shop windows and interesting groupings of items. (Does my apartment count as experience?) I’m especially fond of the cheapo under $100 gift guide (cough, all of the gifts I give are cheap by those standards). “Budget, smudget” also goes down as a genius call-to-arms in my book.
Innocent question: Would you be interested in seeing a gift guide here? Or just my normal “hey, this is neat” kind of posts? It’s a poll!
Thanks for reading! You don’t know how much it means to me.
This Spanish shrine is so petite and cute! I love the handmade details, the scrolling artwork and the closing doors. Find it on Etsy.
I’ve always coveted an elaborate dollhouse. Filling its rooms with miniature decorations would not only be a hobby, but a pleasure. The intricate interiors of D.C. librarian Faith Bradford’s 23-room dollhouse are enough to make me sweat a little. This artifact has lived at the Smithsonian Museum of National History for the last sixty years, and it (as well as its eccentric creator) is now the subject of a book written by famed curator and all around cool guy William L. Bird. The synopsis:
“On the museum’s third floor sits a five-story dollhouse donated to the museum by Faith Bradford, a Washington D.C. librarian, who spent more than a half-century accumulating and constructing the 1,354 miniatures that fill its 23 intricately detailed rooms. When Bradford donated them to the museum in 1951, she wrote a lengthy manuscript describing the lives of its residents: Mr. and Mrs. Peter Doll and their ten children, two visiting grandparents, twenty pets, and household staff. Bradford cataloged the Dolls’ tastes, habits, and preferences in neatly typed household inventories, which she then bound, along with photographs and fabric samples, in a scrapbook. She even sent museum curators holiday cards written by the Dolls.”
I can’t wait to rip through this book! Christmas list, you’re on. (And I couldn’t forget to mention The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, but that’s a post for another day.) Read more about the author’s intentions in this month’s Five Questions interview at Imprint.
This antique dressing mirror is magic! I love the muddled glass.
Incredible! Brazilian composer and multi-talented instrumentalist (check out those bottles!) Hermeto Pascoal is a legend. This jam session is pretty epic, no?
Remember how the first chapter of every Baby-Sitters Club book wasn’t even worth reading? Reiterating who the characters were and setting up the series and all that? Well, this clever piece re-imagines all the boring, sentimental details as envisioned by the master of disaffected youth, arcane tidbits about music and an affinity for choking, Bret Easton Ellis (not the actual Easton Ellis, unfortunately). Suddenly the Club seems a lot more angsty…and I see a pixie stick/cocaine addition becoming a crucial element of Claudia’s storyline.
…and Mary-Anne had been talking for about 10 minutes before I stopped totally zoning out, just trying to mellow really on the B-side of this new Beach Boy album. There is nothing more depressing than coming home after last bell at StoneyBrook High, trying to get my room in order for the Baby-Sitters’ Club meeting, and then realizing that you really don’t even give a shit anymore. Like, sorry that you have diabetes Stacey, but do we have to spend half the afternoon discussing it? And yeah, it really bums me out to watch Claudia just snort up half those Pixie Stixs when she is so blatantly trying to get attention to her sugar problem, but every time we try to talk to her about it she says she needs it to focus on her art and that her super-strict Asian parents are coming down on her ass again so what’s the point, really? This whole club is really getting to be a drag but whatever, I started the project and I just know that bitch Marci is waiting for me to like, drop the ball on this whole thing so she can pick up all the money and maybe Mary-Anne’s boyfriend Logan as a nice “fuck you too” perk.”
Read more at Crushable.
“I’m interested in touch of material, intimate surface, weight, light, structure and ideas of concealment but the method of production is secondary. I like to think of my jewelry as a secretion. Like a bee produces honey, the jewelry is what comes out of me.” — Klaus Burgel
Call me crazy, but I can totally see Burgel’s organic shapes and designs as owl pellets, diamonds in the rough, a rabbit’s foot or a hanging droplet of sap. Delicious.
So good! Hank Williams is always spectacular, but Anita Carter (of the Carter Family) makes this amazing. The connection between the two of them gives me goosebumps.
There’s something about the label on that honey jar that just….calls to me. The story behind the makers, River Farm RI, also sounds pretty dreamy: “River Farm sits on the sunny bank of the Narrow River in Saunderstown, Rhode Island. The farm is home to a flock of Merino sheep, Remy their watchful companion dog, and pot-bellied pig friends Bernie and Ernie. We produce fresh eggs, culinary lavender, honey, and organically processed Merino wool in a range of the sheep’s natural colors.” Pot-bellied pigs and a farm?! Paradise.
Who knew mouths and tongues (and for that matter, spit bubbles) could look so ethereal? Julia Randall’s mouth series is creepy and familiar at the same time. And the “French kiss” piece — powdered wig and retainer-type-structure plus a tongue — is clever as hell!
As a complete basket case (what, you didn’t know?), I’m quite familiar with contemplating the worst case scenario for just about every instance of my life. “But what if…” seems to be a constant refrain in my head, whether it’s a phantom pain in my back (“my spleen is bursting!”) or fear of sweating too much in public (“bring a second shirt, just in case”). Bad Things That Could Happen is the latest from London collective This is It. This absurd collection of shorts makes me think twice about my fear of maggoty cottage cheese — as only the novelty of oversize, Claes Oldenburg-style mouse traps and dancing bacteria can.
It’s been entirely too long since I mined my Flickr favorites for inspiration. I find myself drawn toward landscapes of all kinds these days — chipped and faded paintings, dark photographs and sometimes even the real thing. (Just gotta make that trip upstate for leaf peeping before they’re all gone.) Enjoy.