Archive for May, 2012

crosleyIt is no secret I love old vinyl records.  I grew up with them.  I still have hundreds of Lps and 45 rpm records which I pull out from time to time to play on rapidly aging record players.

I used to fear that there would be a time when once my old record players give out the records would be just relics of a time gone by.  I don’t worry about that too much anymore as vinyl has been making a modest yet steady comeback in recent years.

One of the companies that gives me great hope that records and record players will be around for a few more years to come is Crosley.  Crosley, whose tagline is “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” makes a great collection of record players, mostly with a blend of retro looks and modern technology.

I have a Crosley record player that has a built-in radio and CD player, which is really cool.  But I absolutely love the Crosley Spinnerette, the perfect blend of old and new.  The Crosley Spinnerette has sweet retro looks and can play your records, but it also has a USB connection to allow you to hook it up to your computer and the world.

About the Crosley Spinnerette: “America got its first taste of rock n’ roll in the 1950’s and skyrocket record sales followed. The introduction of the portable turntable was before the end of the decade. The portable turntable allowed for rock n’ rolling practically anywhere. The Crosley Spinnerette was designed with the classic 50’s look in mind but engineered with the most recent technology. Upon first look you may not realized this 50’s style turntable is equipped with a USB connection compatible with PC or Mac and a portable audio outlet for your mp3 player. Weather you choose to play 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM records this turntable is sure to keep you rockin’ where ever you may be.”

Kudos to Crosley and everyone else out there that realizes that honoring our past is the best way to ensure a great future.

See the Crosley Spinnerette here.

See all the great products of Crosley here.

ADLERI have to admit that I go through toilet paper – excuse me, bathroom tissue – like crazy.  I use the stuff for everything from its intended use to blowing my nose, killing spiders and pretty much anything else you can image.

Like so many other people, I find it a big challenge to figure out the best way to keep extra rolls on hand in the bathroom for the inevitable moment when the old roll runs out.  My grandmother had lovely crocheted skirts worn by dolls that sat on the back of the toilet covering a spare roll. I have seen things like clowns as well.

Anyway, I recently saw a promotional campaign from Cottonelle, offering limited edition bathroom tissue covers designed by designed Jonathan Adler, and they are actually kind of cool.

Learn more on Cottonelle’s special website – respecttheroll.com (I love it!)

Find out how to order the Jonathan Adler-designed bathroom tissue covers from Cottonelle here.

Well the first of the three Brimfield Shows of the 2012 season is a fading memory, but I have just a few more notes about my trip there last week to wrap it all up.

Vintage collectibles in a jar…

Lynda I came across a dealer who had some “smalls” displayed in old canning jars – like these vintage toy cowboys.  I love the idea of it.  I have so many of these types of things that are hard to display and think that this is a fun way to show off your collections.  I can picture a mantle with various sized canning jars filled with dice, toy building blocks, buttons, old nails or any kind of small collectible.

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Gotta love Matchbox cars…

I have to say that my first-ever collection were the Matchbox cars I had when I was a wee lad.  I not only played with them, I collected them and was a member of the Matchbox Collectors Club long before I ever thought they could be valuable.  Anyway, we came across a dealer at Brimfield who had quite a collection of Matchbox cars for sale – from the high-end in the over $100 range – to the low-end, like these, a dozen for $8.  Lynda helped me pick out this set which I will be using in a major art piece I am working on.

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Who’s up for a game of Mahjong?

I haven’t played Mahjong in years, and when I did, it was a cheesy computer game version on my Commodore Vic 20 circa 1983.  However, I have always loved the iconic Mahjong game pieces.  I picked up this mini-collection of Mahjong pieces at Brimfield – four for $1.  I am not sure where they will end up, but I like just having them around.

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Lost toys…  Found!

Finally. I picked up this diverse lot from a very engaging vintage toy dealer at Brimfield.  I am always a sucker for the mis-matched and/or damage toy solider (or “lost cowboy” as it were) and I love this vintage golfer cake topper and little red truck.  I think this type of lot is my favorite kind of find at Brimfield and other shows.

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AB1At Brimfield last week I splurged on this little basket of vintage ink stamps – a collection of letters and numbers designed for use with ink pads.

I am not sure what made me buy this odd collection of stamps, but I am glad I did.  I just like the look of them and I know that I will find a use for them. 

It is interesting to note that this type of stamp – along with the professional printers’ stamps – have become quite popular with crafters and hobbyists in recent years.  So even if I decide not to use and/or keep them, I am sure I could re-sell these quite quickly at a fair price.

But I like the idea of stamping out a cool message using these stamps and a piece of old paper. 

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PARISLIGHTAfter a few weeks of lighter fare, I am back to reading some serious nonfiction.  My fascination with a genre I refer to as “vintage true crimes” continues with Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King, which I finished this weekend.

Death in the City of Light, like my one of my all time favorites, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, follows the story of a serial killer against the backdrop of a dramatic period of history.  Mr. Larson’s backdrop was Chicago at the time of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.  In Death in the City of Light, Mr. King’s tells the chilling story of a prolific serial killer in Nazi occupied Paris.

About Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King:  “Death in the City of Light is the gripping, true story of a brutal serial killer who unleashed his own reign of terror in Nazi-Occupied Paris. As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld.”

To say Death in the City of Light is gripping is to understate it’s impact.  Reading true accounts about horrible crimes is much more compelling than even the best fiction, and Mr. King delivers.  He tells the little known story of this particular chapter in the sordid history of Paris with so much detail you can’t help but be swept up in it.

The main story of the crimes and the investigation are interesting.  However, I also learned a great deal about life in Paris under Nazi domination and other period facts that I really did not know a great deal about.

Death in the City of Light should be top of the list for fans of true crime stories and history buffs.  It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.  Compared to the true life atrocities of the man behind the story told here, Hannibal Lecter is creampuff.

Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King is available from Amazon an other booksellers.

 chocorua.05.15.2012

I have to say, of all the pictures of Mt. Chocorua I have brought to you over the past year, today’s is my favorite. 

First, as I have said in almost every post about this natural beauty, it is never the same view twice.  Today, with the thick low clouds, Chocorua’s iconic stone-faced peak is obscured.  But instead of looking like a mountain in the clouds, it would appear to be just another rolling hill in the New Hampshire landscape – but we know what is up there.

Second, I adore the spring greening of the mountain.  You can see how the fresh greenery is making its way up the slopes.  But it are the hints of sun reflecting on the baby green foliage that throws it over the top.  Pure magic.

aa1As Lost Cowboy fans know, I am a sucker for old books – and my trip to Brimfield last week resulted in a really great find.

Lynda spotted a well-worn copy of “The Child’s History of the United States” by Charles A. Goodrich, which is just so cool.  This edition is dated 1884, a reprint of the original some 40 years prior.  This copy, which I purchased straight away for about $5 (bundled with a painting), is fragile, but complete. 

Just holding a 125 year old book in  your hand gets you thinking about all those who held it before you.  As a schoolbook in particular, I think about the children who poured through this volume back in the day when books and media and general were much more scarce than they are today.

Lynda, aware of the condition, said that the book with its great illustrations may contribute to some of my assemblages.  This she said respectfully, knowing how much I value books.  What I will end up doing with it is left to be seen.  In the meantime, I have be researching the book and reading bits and pieces of it.

It turns out that “The Child’s History of the United States” by Charles A. Goodrich, was indeed a very early U.S. history book and was a staple in schoolhouses across this great land for many years.

My newfound copy is delicate.  But thanks to the wonders of the electronic age I don’t have to risk damaging my copy anymore as I learn more about it, as I found a digitized copy of an earlier version on Google books.  I also found a nice online version from the University of Michigan.

Like many other great vintage finds, this book is more than a curious relic saved from a antique market – it is a portal back in time.

A sample of the book’s illustrations:

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The book’s title page:

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So we did make it to Brimfield the other day.  My good friend Lynda and I love going to Brimfield every year – especially the show in May which basically kicks off the season of antique hunting for us. 

We had originally planned to attend Thursday and Friday, but the weather was rainy all week and threatened Thursday and Friday as well.  However, after checking the forecast it looked like Thursday was the best bet so we decided to make the drive out to the western Massachusetts town bright and early.  Despite the fact it was raining when we left, by the time we arrived in Brimfield the sun was out.  Perfect!

It was obvious that the dealers were a little worse for wear having sat in the rain since Tuesday and there was a lot of mud and puddles in the fields – but alas it was the Brimfield Show and we dug right in.

I made a few purchases, nothing major, but I will post about them in the coming days.

The Brimfield Show for May 2012 runs through tomorrow – with sunny and warm weather due.  So if you have the means, by all mean, get out there.

Find more information of the Brimfield antique shows on these sites:

Brimfield Show.com

Brimfield.com

In the meantime, here is a little gallery of some of the pictures I took of the merchandise on display…

beadsFor the first time in years I did not make a spring pilgrimage to New York City.  In years past I would spend a few days in the Big Apple in the spring to catch a few new shows, do some shopping and just take in the joys of the city in the spring.

I did not make it this year, but alas, I have made a few notes for what I want to do on my next trip to New York. If I am fortunate, I will be able to catch a cabaret performance of the legendary jazz piano performer Barbara Carroll.  I love cabaret shows, and New York is the place to go to catch a glimpse of legendary artists like Miss Carroll, who has been performing for well over 50 years.

On the shopping side, I want to make sure I see out Beads of Paradise on my next visit to New York.  Bead of Paradise looks like just about the coolest shop around – a place where you can buy new and vintage jewelry and beads.  From what I can see, a visit to Beads of Paradise is an assault on the senses and just about the best idea for a store I have heard in LONG time.

Read more about Barbara Carroll here.

See more about Beads of Paradise here.

FCTMy recent post about teardrop campers has had me thinking about camping.  When I was a kid there was nothing better than “camping” out in the back yard in the summer.  For several years my tent of choice was a little orange pup tent which was a lot of fun.  However, I can’t tell you how much I wish I had the option of tent from FieldCandy back then.  FieldCandy offers a line of “designer” camping tents that are just about the coolest things ever to hit the camping world.

About Field Candy“FieldCandy is an exciting design-led brand of tents. We are here to inject color, creativity and fun into the camping space by offering a range of totally unexpected designs. We aim to delight our customers and excite anyone who sees our products.  FieldCandy tents are fun. But they’re serious too. They keep you as dry in the rain and as snug in a gale as any conventional high performance tent. And because we use a good old-fashioned cotton inner tent, you don’t get the condensation that comes as standard with most modern tents.”

The designs offered by FieldCandy include designs like this kissing couple, as well as tents that mock a slice or cheese or watermelon, or a quilt or circus tent.  I defy you to go to FieldCandy and not be charmed and/or inspired by their cool tent designs.

See all the tent designs of FieldCandy here.