Archive for the ‘Objects’ Category


Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Lo-fi little numbers, as cool and simple as anything Apple tells me I need.

Lined and Squared MUCU paper pads. As powerful as you are.

Word For Word

Monday, November 29th, 2010

A recent conversation I’m going to share with you all, verbatim.

Not Me: What are these dumb pens now? They look like they’re from the 80’s, from Japan.

Me: Dumb pens? You just described the most amazing pens ever. You basically just described my dream pens.

Then Me and Not Me laugh cause it’s beyond true.

I ordered them from KIOSK.

On The Scene: Northern Grade Men’s Market

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Sitting smack-dab between the two coasts, Minneapolis isn’t often invited into the big fashion action, but Saturday’s Northern Grade Ad-Hoc Men’s Market proved that both the men and the makers of Minnesota are sturdy and style-minded supporters of the Made-In-The-USA movement.

With manufacturers Red Wing Shoes, J.W. Hulme, and Duluth Pack but three of Minnesota’s revered and revived brand names, there really was no better state in the Union to celebrate the return of American Style to its rugged, well-made roots on a September afternoon.

Hosted within the Architectural Antiques store in Northeast Minneapolis, local mens boutique MartinPatrick3 anchored the handsome action with checked selections from Gitman Bros. Vintage and luscious leather overnighter bags from J.W. Hulme.

A black-to-brick rainbow of Red Wing boots rose over a salvaged fireplace mantle and past two rows of pre-war, movie theatre seats. (I hadn’t seen so many crepe soles in one place since I stomped out of my closet just three hours earlier.)

The Kansas City boys behind Baldwin Denim were among the friendliest at the retail event, offering expert advice on achieving the perfect dude-denim fit.

One of the brands I hadn’t recalled bumping into on the boy blogs before, Taylor Stitch, showcased the fine fabrics behind their shirting with a stash of swatches set all around our big, black world.

The rocking and most of the rolling at Northern Grade was provided by Erik Kosinken and his back-up band, featuring Your Lord Jesus Christ on (invisible) drums.

These two-toned Hulme bags were my favorite find at all of Northern Grade, although I hadn’t realized it until after I’d left. Soft and unstructured like a weathered old windbreaker, they couldn’t look better had you dug some out of the trunk of your Dad’s sedan and snatched ’em without telling him.

The Rock-Ola jukebox wasn’t up or running during the event, but with Dolly Parton and Dean Martin both trapped somewhere deep inside, don’t think I didn’t consider plugging the old puppy back in.

Carefully curated vintage watches and antique books on topics including sailing and stables were stashed near the back of the MartinPatrick3 station. Their mix of old and new items, as at their North 1st Street shop, always emphasizes the beauty of both yesterday and today’s goods.

I’d received a reminder e-mail from MP3 halfway through the afternoon making me wonder (then full-on worry) that the event wasn’t going so well, attendance-wise. But when I arrived I was plum pleased to see how buzzy and bustling the mini-market was.

Man, oh man, the place was alive!

Minnesota, you done made me proud.

Trouble Makers

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

When was the last time you were a real rascal? There’s a real and rare thrill in rustling up some trouble, a thrill we willfully deny ourselves as we sulk into adulthood.

So pop an Old Time Sling Shot into your back pocket this weekend, perch yourself up somewhere sneaky, then fling bubble gum or your wadded up phone number at eye-catching passers-by until things get thrilling.

You’ll end up either engaged or arrested, but either option makes for a better story than whatever you had going on this weekend otherwise, I reckon.

Plus, you’ll be doing my homestate suburbs some ecological good.

Get this. According to Hickorees: “This classic sling shot is hand made from branches of the Buckthorn bush, a European hedge plant commonly found in suburban neighborhoods in Minnesota, and now considered an invasive species. Buckthorn’s hard “Y” branches are perfect for sling shots, and harvesting Buckthorn wood helps with efforts to control the species.”

So when that mean mom on your block starts wagging her finger at you for slinging away at all the pretty young things in your hood, flatly ask her when was the last time she did anything to help control an invasive species?

By the time she sorts out her answer, you’ll be halfway home and fantastically full of yourself. Just like a kid, but with cooler clothes.

Filed Under Awesome

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Last weekend for 75 cents I found a plastic bag of these vote-baiting nail file freebies from the late 1980s.

I don’t know how effective they really would’ve been as a campaigning tool, but as retro mementos they are clear winners. The powder of the blue and the brick of the red in these specific shades are a thing of the past.

I’m thinking of going back to where I got the first bag of files, buying about ten more, then sticking them like bouquets in a quartet of metal vases. But I’d need to host a party with some sort of coinciding theme in order to be that dweeby about dumb old nail files – and I can’t think of a logical enough link.


Electrics Company

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Yesterday’s attention to design, updated with the technology of today. The electronic offerings from Harajuku-based Amandana.

Your phone may have a calculator conveniently built in, but I doubt it’s as geeky chic as this one:

The electric oven is now long overdue for a compact comeback. Two or three more seasons/jumps forward in time and Betty Draper’s gonna pout right next to one, I guarantee it:

I still have the tongue of a seven year old; the taste of coffee strikes me as bitter and wooden-banister flavored, but for full-fledged grownups with the palates to match, a mini home brewer like this adds instant hip to your kitchen counter:

Two or three issues ago, GQ swore that cell phones were slowly and not-so-secretly killing us all, men and women alike. So get a land line while there’s still time. Safety first, supreme style second:

Adding Up

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

For over a year I came up empty handed in a number of online auctions for the fancy little 660 calculator from Panasonic.


But one sits smartly on my desk, at last!


I’m thinking of taking it and a thin stack of books on an early Spring stroll and pretending I’m an Algebra-obsessed exchange student in Osaka, circa 1981.

Just seems like the right thing to do.

In The Flesh

Friday, February 26th, 2010

It’s perfectly normal to get excited at the sight of a flesh-toned Sharpie marker.




Don’t let anyone tell you it’s something to feel ashamed of.


Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I bought this magnifying glass on-line as a Christmas gift for I wasn’t sure who.

When it arrived in the mail, it wasn’t specifically perfect for anyone I knew. (Except, by default, myself) and so I kept it.

Gifted: Sparkling

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Gold and silver and other metallic-ized gifts.


1. Postalco Jotter Notebook.
I had really needed this as all year I had been scribbling phone numbers and directions on a stupid stocking stuffer from last year: a box of little loose (and easily lost) sheets of paper printed with a light orange graphic of man climbing a cliff or jumping over a river or something (I’ve blocked the beyond-dumbness from my memory) and the words “The will to succeed.” (Yesterday I easily mustered the will to successfully toss them in the trash!)

2. My dog Aesop looks like a fox, so thus this door-knocker looks like my dog.

3. My mother gave me the vintage spoon, along with a story: When we moved from England back to America when I was nine months old, the movers had accidentally packed up my baby spoon and my mom was in a panic about how she was going to feed me during our week long sea voyage back to the states. She said every restaurant in England had these little silver spoons in the standard brown sugar tins set on each table. So she guiltlessly stole one with which to feed me at sea. Flash forward 30 some years and she comes across the spoon somehow in my sister’s kitchen and steals the spoon (once again!) and gives it to me for Christmas.


4. Ultra-chunky pretend nails, perfect only for laying around looking pretty.


5. Another vintage English gift, though not stolen. A stamp sheet cover from the 1940s. Trying to figure out how/where to display it as it doesn’t really fit modern American stamp books.


6. A hunk of Brazilian pyrite now giving gritty glam to the top of a stack of books.

With all these shining, sparkling gifts, my digs are one big disco ball!

Military Issued

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Last weekend I was lucky enough to dig through a big box of army issued artifacts belonging to a relative who had served as a Lieutenant during WWII. Little pieces of history to hold in my hands that hinted at both the epic and ordinary routines of an enlisted man.

1. Pre-Packaged Stationery Set for writing your mom, sweetheart, or (apparently) your secret seductress.


2. Front and back of a military matchbook.


3. Look what this book warns: This document must not fall into enemy hands!


4. Four pack of cigarettes.


5. Just some of the pins the Lt. had been awarded.


Included in the box was a letter the Lieutenant’s secretary had written to him a year after the war ended in which she described how hard it was to return to civilian life. How much she missed the camaraderie of those she served with, and the strong sense of purpose. She even lamented the changing styles of women’s fashion she was now forced to select from, instead of her government-issued uniforms.

Again and again in the letter she said how hard it was to “get back into the swing of things.”

I hope she eventually did. I hope she went on to have a good, full life.

Mint pt 1.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Early 1900s German book covers.