Friday, June 13, 2008

Heavens to Etsy

A permanent fan of ephemeral items, I was in heaven when I discovered Alpenhimmel on Etsy (thanks to Ruby Press).

star search

I love vintage astronomy maps. It’s cool and weird to be looking at an old map of stars and think about how the sky itself is sort of an old map of the stars—in the sense that many of them have actually died years and years ago, but they are so far away we are still seeing them shine. Mind bending. Anyway, I saw one very much like the all black one above in an interior done by Thomas O'Brien and fell in love with the idea of these star maps as wall art. It was large, on a white wall and looked gorgeous. The one on top is a page from an astronomy book I found on ebay, where each page shows the night sky as it changes from month to month. I’m planning on framing several and hanging them as a series.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Decorating Made Easy (!)

Better Homes and Gardens “Decorating Book”, circa 1961 (cover, below). Aside from entirely sage decorating wisdom this little gem has pages and pages of sweet illustrations. While the Decorating Book is a little harder to find, the very cool Handyman Book from Better Homes (1966 edition) is available on Amazon right here.

Oilcloth Homage

Summertime makes me think of being little and making a mess of drippy ice cream cones at my grandma’s kitchen table—which would invariably have a sticky, but fabulously patterned oilcloth tablecloth on it. So, of course I had to look up oilcloth to see if it was still around. And guess what? Like Kleenex and Linoleum, Oilcloth is a “genericized trademark.” Not only is it the ubiquitous name for this plastic covered fabric, but it’s the name of the company that makes it. Plus, now you can get everything from aprons and shopping bags to chairs and bibs made of Oilcloth.™

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beauty & Meaning

This is a sort of follow up to the last post; how whether an object carries with it my history or someone else’s it still has an inherent sense of story and magic, so to speak. I think this is true, but should clarify that (and I guess it really goes without saying, but...) personal history and meaning always trump the rest. Below are two treasured objects that are beyond beautiful and also very near and dear to my heart.
This book was a wedding gift from my husband: a volume that chronicles our email correspondence that led up to our first date. He designed and illustrated it and then had it letterpressed and bound. It is far and away the most priceless thing I own. I imagine our great grandchildren reading it (and blushing over certain parts) long after we’re gone.

The coffee cup was (ahem) spirited away from the CafĂ© de la Paix in Paris by my best friend. Every time I look at this little piece of truly classic and timeless design I smile—thinking of Jordan slyly slipping it in to her bag and cradling it all the way across the Atlantic just to bring me a souvenir from her Parisian travels.

Flea Circus

I love having things around me that have a sense history to them. Whether it’s my own history, or someone else’s, is secondary. Just that sense of “story” about an object gives it a certain magic. So of course I’m a big sucker for flea markets and...ebay. Just a couple fairly recent acquisitions here. My proudest find: the portrait I found at a flea market in the Meat Packing District last year. An original amateur painting on canvas for a scant $10!