Archive for March, 2014

FF: The Hi from Chicago Pillow from Earth Cadets

ff1I love the hand crafted silk screen prints of Earth Cadets, like the Hi from Chicago pillow: “Show your Chicago pride with this hand printed, organic pillow made right here in the windy city.”

About Earth Cadets: “It started with a love for t-shirts and making my own via puffy paints and iron-on transfers. I mean who doesn’t love a white sweat suit with chicks and bunnies outlined in pastel purple? Many, many years later, it morphed into my moving to Chicago, finding local places that teach screen printing, taking several beginners classes and then going out on my own to build out a studio in my basement. From that, Earth Cadets was born. A company committed to creating unique and hand printed home goods, accessories and clothing while keeping a commitment to maintain and respect our environment.”

Check out Earth Cadets online here.

FF: The Genie Kitchen Garden from Tregren

FF2I love my old school container garden, but there is something really cool about the innovative “active growing technology” of the very new school Genie Kitchen Garden from Tregren.

About the Genie Kitchen Garden from Tregren: “The energy-saving, smart and ecological Genie takes new approach on indoor gardening, incorporating sustainable materials, innovative technology, effortless usability and contemporary design. Genie is designed for a wide variety of plants – everything from flowers to veggies. The Active Growing Technology ensures that the different types of plants prosper without any extra effort. You can put pots with a diameter up to 15 cm in Genie enabling you to use plants grown elsewhere.”

See all the cool “active growing technology” of Tregren here.

FF: The Spark 48 Modern Chandelier from Niche Modern

FF3I love classic designs updated with a modern sensibility. The Spark 48 Modern Chandelier from Niche Modern is the perfect blend of old meets new and I love it.

About the Spark 48 Modern Chandelier from Niche Modern: “Minimal and dramatic, Niche Modern’s Spark 48 Modern Chandelier celebrates the beauty of the bare bulb. Each chandelier is hand-crafted and made to order in the United States.”

See all the Modern Chandeliers of Niche Modern here.

FF: The Triple Tier Spoondelier from Hester & Cook

FF4Continuing in the chandelier theme but from practical to whimsical – you have to love the Triple Tier Spoondelier from Hester & Cook a light fixture made from dozens of spoons and it is a unique work of art.

About the Triple Tier Spoondelier from Hester & Cook: “Hand-crafted using vintage silver-plate spoons, this beautiful light fixture adds a bit of whimsy to any interior. Available in brass, black or nickel finish. 25.5″ height x 24″ width. Includes 36″ of chain. Lighting made in the USA.”

See the Triple Tier Spoondelier and all the fine items available from Hester & Cook here.

rico2I am so sorry I found out about the great I.D. Photo Badge Portraiture exhibition at New York’s Ricco/Maresca Gallery too late, as it looks like just the type of thing that I love.

The exhibition presented more than 250 metal framed employee I.D. badges from roughly the Great Depression 1930’s to the Post-War 1950’s. It is amazing how such an everyday item when collected and placed together can be transformed into a work or art and a cultural history of our society.

Although the exhibition has closed, lucky for us the collection can be viewed on Ricco/Maresca Gallery’s Past Exhibition site – just look for the I.D. Photo Badge Portraiture box, click on it and you will see a nice slide show of the some of the exhibition’s pieces.

rico1About the I.D. Photo Badge Portraiture exhibition at the Ricco/Maresca Gallery: “Ricco/Maresca Gallery is pleased to present I.D. Photo Badge Portraiture. The beginnings of photography were often marked by portraiture, providing a true likeness of an individual for the first time. This collection of 250 photo identification badges, manufactured between the 1930s and early 1950s, constitutes a collective portrait of the American worker. These vintage badges, from a possibly simpler time, were all that was necessary to prove one’s authentic self and place in society.”

Just when I thought my days of finding something cool to collect were over I find vintage I.D. badges. I now want to search the flea markets, yard sales and auctions for gems like these little pieces of our history.

Who needs these stinkin’ badges? I do!

Find the I.D. Photo Badge Portraiture and other past Ricco/Maresca Gallery exhibitions here.

Learn more about the Ricco/Maresca Gallery here.

See a nice presentation of the I.D. Photo Badge Portraiture collection on Time magazine’s Lightbox here.

Bike_SnobAs you know I love my bike and I love riding wherever and whenever I can. I wouldn’t classify myself as a “bike snob” but when I came across the book of this name, Bike Snob, I had to read it right away. Bike Snob is written by BikeSnobNYC – which I guess is the person behind the blog of the same name (BikeSnobNYC) which the book is based on.

Bike Snob says this about his blog: “while I love cycling and embrace it in all its forms, I’m also extremely critical. So I present to you my venting for your amusement and betterment. No offense meant to the critiqued. Always keep riding!”

I have to say that Bike Snob is supremely entertaining as it simultaneously celebrates and lampoons bikes, riders and the culture surrounding bicycles. The books makes some interesting observations about bike culture with great illustrations from Christopher Koelle.

About Bike Snob by BikeSnobNYC: “Cycling is exploding in a good way. Urbanites everywhere, from ironic hipsters to earth-conscious commuters, are taking to the bike like aquatic mammals to water. Cycling’s most prolific, well-known, hilarious, and anonymous blogger brings a fresh and humorous perspective to the most important vehicle to hit personal transportation since the horse. Bike Snob treats readers to a laugh-out-loud rant and rave about the world of bikes and their riders, and offers a unique look at the ins and outs of cycling, from its history and hallmarks to its wide range of bizarre practitioners. Throughout, the author lampoons the missteps, pretensions, and absurdities of bike culture while maintaining a contagious enthusiasm for cycling itself. Bike Snob is an essential volume for anyone who knows, is, or wants to become a cyclist.”

BikeSnob says he is “systematically and mercilessly realigning the world of cycling” and I for one am along for this most entertaining ride.

Bike Snob by BikeSnobNYC is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture I took of ice fishing cabins on Meredith Bay in Meredith, NH. Well, I recently came across this picture of a herd of deer crossing across the frozen bay which is part of Lake Winnipesaukee. Sad to say I did not take this picture, but I love it anyway. And I love how nature just adapts to whatever the seasons bring.

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lomo2OK, today’s find is one of the coolest things I have seen in a while – the Smartphone Scanner from Lomography.

This is great, you can feed old 35mm negatives through the device and have them scanned right onto your smartphone. No bulky scanners, no hard to finagle templates for the negatives – just a compact scanner and the results on your phone.

About the Lomography Smartphone Scanner: “Great way to instantly scan and instantly share your 35mm films with your smartphone! Portable and easy to use.”

(Clearly English is not the first language of the folks at Lomography, but that’s ok, they speak the international language of AWESOME!)

I have a ton of negatives I have been looking to scan and find it a huge pain to use the traditional flatbed scanner I have. I am not looking for the highest quality resolution, just something that will allow me to see the old pictures and arrange my archives and the Lomography Smartphone Scanner is the perfect solution.

Meanwhile, the folks at Lomography are dedicated to preserving the art of analog photography – something I totally support.

See all the great products of Lomography here.

spd2So today is St. Patrick’s Day. Or as I like to call it “I Never Knew There were So Many Different Shades of Green Day” as it is crazy what people wear on this day.

Well, of course I will be celebrating with a few fingers of my favorite Irish whiskey (currently Tullamore D.E.W.) and dining on some good old Irish stew if I can get my act together in time.

The recipe I would like to try is Stuart O’Keeffe’s Irish Beef Stew with Guinness which I found in a recent edition of Men’s Journal magazine, believe it or not.

spdAbout Stuart O’Keeffe’s Irish Beef Stew with Guinness from Men’s Journal: “Before you start a pub crawl this Saint Patrick’s Day, gather your pals for a hearty meal that’s all Irish. L.A.-based Stuart O’Keeffe, a 32-year-old Irish chef who has been a co-star of the Food Network’s Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, suggests straying from tired corned beef and cabbage and, instead, celebrating the day with the hearty beef and Guinness of his ‘heart’s home.’ For O’Keeffe’s beef stew with Guinness, he asks the butcher to cut short ribs and cooks them with fresh local root vegetables – staples on the Irish isle. He braises everything long and slow, letting the Guinness break down the meat with its acidity and hops. It couldn’t be easier: Brown the meat and veggies, and throw everything in together to slow cook this one-pot wonder that will magically produce a dark, inky sauce you won’t soon forget.”

I like the idea of a slow cooked stew braised in Guinness and I think I can manage this recipe. Or maybe after a few shots of Tullamore, mixing Guinness in a can of Dinty Moore might work out just as well.

Find Stuart O’Keeffe’s recipe for Irish Beef Stew with Guinness from Men’s Journal here.

Visit Men’s Journal magazine online here.

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I am cheating with my latest post checking in on Mount and Lake Chocorua from Tamworth, NH by posting a professional photographer’s shots of the scene.

The reason? Well, the reason is I am posting from my new digs in Kansas and feeling really homesick for the snow and mountains of New Hampshire.

Anyway, Lake Chocorua is the start and finish line for the annual Tamworth Sled Dog races which were held just a couple of weeks ago.  I am sorry to have missed the event but I love these pictures of a couple of teams heading off on the course – in the middle of the frozen lake with the majestic mountain in the background. 

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NBThere is just something really cool about old school wooden blocks for children. Kids still like to play with them and the vintage ones look great as a decorative item. Well, it is great to know that there are still people out there that are dedicated to preserving the good old blocks, and the new ones are just as cool as the old ones – like the Nautical Blocks from Uncle Goose – which would look great stacked just so on the mantle at your seaside home.

About the Nautical Blocks from Uncle Goose: “Ahoy there matey! Don’t set sail without a set of our Nautical Blocks perfect for those youngsters interested in perfecting basic seamanship or just learning to tie a sheepshank. It certainly provides that special accent in the master cabin or boat house. The set contains 26 alphabet letters with their accompanying maritime signal flag, Morse code, semaphore and the NATO phonetic alphabet words. A beautifully illustrated knot on each block puts this set over the edge! Anchors Aweigh!”

By the way, I love everything about this Uncle Goose place – they have many other great block sets and other old school children’s items and they are all awesome.

UGAbout Uncle Goose: “Uncle Goose sometimes feels like that eccentric yet eloquent friend of yours that seems to have stepped out of an O. Henry short story from the late 19th century. After all, ours is a company that stepped back over one hundred years in time to hand-manufacture classic wood alphabet blocks in an era of computer games and digital toys.”

Check out Uncle Goose here.

TBXI am a big fan of postcards. In this day and age when you can send a message to just about anyone anywhere at any time electronically, there is something very cool about sending and receiving old school postcards.

I love finely curated boxed sets of postcards so I have many cards on hand for when the spirit moves me to send one. I also end up pinning the images I like to the old corkboard and using other cards for writing myself notes or as bookmarks.

Anyway, one of the coolest sets of postcards I found recently is The Pattern Box – 100 Postcards by 10 Contemporary Pattern Designers’ Textile Arts Center.

About The Pattern Box – 100 Postcards by 10 Contemporary Pattern Designers’ Textile Arts Center: “Curated by New York City’s celebrated Textile Arts Center, this vibrant, pattern-filled collection features one hundred postcards from ten international designers. Housed in an equally vivid keepsake box, the postcards are ideal for correspondence, enclosure notes, and inspiration boards alike. The set also includes a booklet about the designers, highlighting their creative processes’ and influences. Contributors include: New York designers Shanan Campanaro (Eskayel), Brittany Keats Cerullo, Helen Dealtry, Leah Reena Goren, Hannah Schultz, and Leanne Shapton; California designers Jennifer Parry Dodge (Ermie) and Kindah Khalidy; and international designers Victoria Garcia (Australia) and Anna Niestroj of Blink Blink (Germany).”

The patterns on these cards are so cool and eclectic they can be used to send to just about anyone.

The Pattern Box – 100 Postcards by 10 Contemporary Pattern Designers’ Textile Arts Center is available from Princeton Architectural Press.