Tiny Bubbles

Nothing could make me thirstier than seeing this legitimate last-of-the-old-guard seltzer delivery man parked on our block. Now, after Sandro ruined Sweetheart’s relationship with the legendary Walter Beckerman in the great Brooklyn unreturned bottle dispute of 2006, our hand has been forced and we’ve gone the way of the soda stream. But, in the same way my heart sings when I get my knives sharpened by the knife grinder, there is somewhat of a New York romance with the seltzer man. May he live long and forever deliver bubbles to the outer boroughs.

Gremolata & Cancellaresca Milanese

Though I’m not too well versed in it, I love typography. Borrowing from illuminated manuscripts, morphing from baroque curlicues to the lazy S’s of the Virginia Gazette (headline to the uninitiated: The Frefest advice, Foreign and Domeftick), from the ubiquity of Helvetica to the transgressions of Comic Sans. My love of fonts is pretty basic and visceral, my knowledge of custom running type limited to when my Mama had a font made of her handwriting in the mid 90’s (awesome). But, when I stumbled on this kickstarter campaign, my eyes fluttered. A brand new typeface. Bold and Italics not just header buttons on command. Languid, tilty, romantic italic letters paired off with their stand-up roman bretheren based on exact harmony between letter and meaning. Type made in the oldest way, in a foundry, painstaking, precise, hand wrought. Marvelous. The finished typeface will be a marriage of Cancellaresca Milanese (a typeface based on one that first appeared in Milan in 1541 in the books of Giovanni Antonio Castiglione) and Gremolata (a newly designed type with a slightly larger set of capitals based on those in the Cancellaresca, and paired with a lower case that is inspired, but not based on, Alpine typefaces of the mid-sixteenth century). Of course. the I gave $10, the project is funded, and the boys have started carving out their type. Just as in the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king, in the kingdom of Kickstarter, even the pauper is a patron. Here, the type:

Heart Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am in love love love with this Molly Ledbetter painting. Deep Dark Secret Confession: I’m one of those boring poopers who usually prefers when art is a picture of something. Like a horse or a ship or a faith healing. I probably would have been gasping and “well-I-never!”-ing at the 1913 Armory Show. Yet even though dear miss Molly’s work is large scale, graphic, and abstract, it’s also deliciously tactile, lovely and compelling, with riotous pops and swags of color and I just love it. She’s got a marvelous new site (and a great blog to boot). Now if I could only decide which piece is my favorite…

Mother Mayo

Two things. 1) a store has opened up four blocks from my house that ONLY SELLS MAYONNAISE and 2) Last Sunday they had their grand opening and were giving away deviled eggs AND champagne for free and somehow I didn’t hear about it until today. Mayonnaise something wrong with that.

Empire Mayonnaise makes mayonnaise from scratch on site in their tiny storefront using exotic formulations and flavors- black garlic, white truffle, or preserved lemon here, emu or ostrich eggs in lieu of standard chicken eggs there. My love of mayo is no secret, but this could be dangerous.

Empire Mayonnaise
564 Vanderbilt Ave.
(btw. Dean and Bergen)

images from the source.

Stump Speech

When I first stumbled across Best Made, a New York based company whose absolutely gorgeous hand-hewn and painted axes retail for up to $300, I had a smarmysmirk. I can certainly get behind the idea that objects of use should be objects of beauty, that form, function, build and tame are among the most ancient human impulses as we have. But, I thought, come on. A (stunning) $300 axe for uppity, bearded, maketank New Yorkers to hang on the wall of their lofts for show? Because-seriously-who-in-New-York-has-a-tree-and-if-you-were-lucky-enough-to-have-a-tree-why-on-earth-would-you-chop-it-down. Birch Please.

Then. I found the stump in my backyard. This old stump had at one point been burnt, covered in bricks and debris, forgotten until Sweetheart and I unearthed it in a torrent of centipedes and (my) shrieking. On Monday, it was the size of the red oval:
I broke it up myself using a rusty old axe I found in the backyard that must have belonged to the original landlords from the 1850’s. This is what my axe looks like:
Oof. My axe is like off-brand jeans. It works OK, but it could be a little shiner and a LOT sharper. New York is funny in this way, it can give you little nuggets of self-revelation that come with sweat and honest toil, and in the same fell swing can make you covetous of a $300 axe named “Flashman”. And the crazy thing? I think I might have earned it.

Cuppow!

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a life(style) changing product: CUPPOW! The idea is incredibly simple and totally genius. It’s slender plastic insert that turns any wide mouth canning jar into a travel mug. BAM.

Who doesn’t love drinking out of a jar? Who hasn’t spilled all over themselves doing so? I had to get a few for Miss McKay for her birthday. It seemed created for her: Cold brew coffee anywhere, pina coladas to go, hot coffee refills, champagne cocktails on a bike, mojitos in the back of a pickup truck. No frills, no spills, all thrills. Even better, the tiny company is run by American humans who just seem to really love coffee and want to bring manufacturing back to New England. Simple, elegant, affordable, sustainable, and local? Be still my Brooklyn heart. 
Buy one here
, you know you need it.

images not featuring Miss McKay from cuppow.

For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn

Anyone need a raspberry bidet? The kind you get at a secondhand store:This and more to be found in the amazing “free” section of Craigslist. I stumbled on the pile of gems that is the “free” section a few months ago looking for a “new” dresser for Sweetheart. With some judicious browsing and a few e-mails, we found ourselves in a deserted hallway in an elevator building on East 12th street, picking up a beat up but lovely and manly mahogany bow front dresser, the drawers of which were inexplicably filled with glitter. FOR FREE. Even though (goodness knows) I don’t need any more stuff, I find myself drawn to peruse the “free” section every two weeks or so just to trawl around and see what’s there.

Just like Papa Hemingway’s famous flash story (“for sale: baby shoes, never worn”), the listings sometimes tell just the edge of a story, as in “wedding dress, brand new, never got used”. Or sometimes there’s a big old chunk of history there behind the words of the listing, as in “FREE wood joists that were just ripped up from the coney island boardwalk”:Then there are listings for things you see over and over: “Big Screen TV still WORKS! Needs two to lift”, “FREE Couch, making room for crib”, “IKEA (insert name of any item ever sold at Ikea), some scratches, may need to be disassembled, 5th floor walkup”. Toss in listings for free haircuts, free tatoos, free dirt, free comedy, free boats, free shoes, free oil, free puppies, or FREE ONE PASS FOR A HIPHOP LATINO SHOW CASE OPEN MIC IN MANHATTAN and the “Free” section becomes like the flashing repeating reel version of life that gleams from the windows of subway trains passing each other underground. Go look, don’t cost nothin.

Valentine’s Day: time for useful tools

Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s the time of mind, but- for whatever reason- it feels like this Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be one of extravagant luxuries. Now, Valentine’s Day is a freighted holiday to begin with ( it’s a hallmark holiday/it’s arbitrary/shouldn’t every day be Valentine’s day, bla bla bla), but I’ll just go ahead and put it out there: I like Valentine’s Day. I’m a romantic at heart, and I’ll take any excuse for small gestures: I like getting fresh flowers delivered, I like surprises, I like love notes, I like champagne. But this year, I’m feeling like I’m in a place where I’m putting more and more value on small, simple pleasures and focusing on things done rather than things bought…I’m pining after objects of use AND beauty. Like the scissors above. Or a sharp little knife. Or a reciprocating saw (just kidding. sort of.). Here are my favorite little objects of love, for any Valentine:#8 Opinel Knife, with Arrow Design, from Spartan (or without, from Gravel and Gold)Mixtape dispenser, from ModCloth.

Flashman Hudson Bay Axe, from Best Made.Map Tacks, or really, anything, from KioskANY design Custom Stamp from the amazing Casey Rubber Stamps in the East Village.Compass Necklace, from Redtruckdesigns.A picnic blanket to recreate this (image from here)

And that’s just off the top of my head. Happy Valentine’s Day, loves.

For my Valentine?

Since I can’t figure out how to buy this from the apparently amazing Anna Louise Mould, I’m thinking if I can replicate this amazing banjo-head painting for my Sweetheart in time for Valentine’s day. Since he’s the sweetest kind of karmically-transplanted-mountain-man-reborn-in-the-body-of-a-native-New-Yorker, this would be just his kind of “Pimp my Ride”. Swoon.

 

props to the stunning Woodsmaiden, for capturing my heart as always.

Broke-Ass Emily Post

“When Mrs. Worldly gives a dinner… She  looks through her “dinner list” and orders her secretary to invite the Oldworlds, the Eminents, the Learneds, the Wellborns, the Highbrows, and the Onceweres” –Emily Post in Etiquette

Hmmm. I don’t know about this, Madame Emily. This begs a question of the leisure class: what about the charming Uninsureds, the young Mr and Miss Starving, and that sweet French/Indian/Jewish couple les Petit-Brokes? If they get the invite what are they to do?I ask this question in light of a recent slew of what I’ll call simply: The $100 Dinner. Since the dawn of the new year alone Sweetheart and I have gotten the invite to go to three such marvelous sounding dinners, each one at the kind of shiny dinner places where, as taxidermy is my witness, there is certain to be a $36 steak frite on the menu and a $15 rye cocktail named after Dutch Schultz, as well as some sort of great sounding $12 small plate that Sweetheart and I would be more than happy to share. We are invited to celebrate a birthday, a reunion, a friend in town… and so, because we love, we go. We split our small plate brussels sprout lardon jammer, have two glasses of wine, and the bill comes while you’re in the bathroom and it’s broken down… $100. Per person. What the What? Emily Post, despite passing her prime dinner throwing years during the great depression, must have been rich. Otherwise how could she afford so many correct napkins and forks? How could she have left us so bereft of guidance at a time when it’s totally ok for the Wellborns and the Highbrows to blow $100 each on a single meal, but some of us would really rather buy a bridesmaids dress with that money (HAHA JUST KIDDING! We’d rather pay for our HEALTHCARE with that money… or rather, we’d rather pay for 1/6 of our healthcare for one month with that money! Ha ha. ha. [sound of sobbing]).But- I digress. I’m loathe to write any of this down for the same reason I’m loathe to snatch the check up from the table and break out my abacus the moment it arrives. I feel like I sound like a jerk. A petulant, broke jerk. Even though my fellow Americans are supposedly in such an economic slump that double dipping will never again sound like something awesome to do with chips, that doesn’t stop some people from looking at you aghast when you talk about healthcare, ask for a doggy bag, or try to suggest itemizing the bill. No one wants to think about how broke anyone else is. Especially not the broke-asses in question. Sigh. So. Maybe we don’t need you, Miss Post, maybe we need a new you, a Miss Broke-Ass Emily Post for the modern era to tell us what a girl’s to do?

Any guidance, dear readers?

I’m going tonight to my fourth potential $100 dinner tonight, bidding my dear yogi Sara adieu as she departs for India to polish her sanskrit and eat coconuts, and I’m going to try out a few diversionary recessionary tactics. I’ll let you know how it works out.

 

Emily Post quote and image from here.

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