My affair with enamelware is well documented here. It is indestructible and wears the patina of age with both grace and quirkiness. The perforated spoon is my go-to utensil for poached eggs, which I eat quite often. Something about using it makes me happy and reinforces the pleasure of the cooking ritual. The best tools possess this quality. The middle image, of the two-armed octopi, are of some very old enamel hooks. One sunny morning, during my recent trip to Nice, I met my friend Kate (a dear friend from college who now lives full time in France) at the flea market. After I showed some hesitation at the price quoted by the dealer, Kate swooped in before I could stop her, and bought them as a gift. Thank you!! The sunny biscuit tins represent my hope for Spring. I could not resist their call. Plus, I needed a few little storage boxes.
Lendy’s Electric, on Grand Street in Manhattan, is one of those holdouts from an earlier time when small scale manufacturers and their accompanying tradesmen (tradeswomen?) dominated the downtown landscape. I always enjoy my visits there: so many unfamiliar things to look at, and I always learn something new. Even if that means appropriating some strange slang for a particular electric receptacle or seeing these schematics for plugs and whatnot. These Select-A-Spring photos are from a visit a couple of years ago.
Photo taken by my husband. Those are paws (and a little bit of a tail) sticking out. I see this image, and all I want to do is crawl under the covers.
My friend Nancy is an accomplished surface designer who, over the years, has created a range of hand-painted dinnerware for various clients here and far. I asked her if she would send me the rough swatches of stripes and marks that are a product of her pattern development . She happily complied. This is only the smallest selection from her archive. Again, it’s the process that catches my eye. Sometimes I feel as though we are losing out to technology when it comes to the incremental stages of creativity. Maybe. Maybe not.
Another quick test of the newsletter. I’ve always loved this sign. Over the few years that it’s been outside the local farm and garden store, they have never once changed the words.
Some flash cards purchased when we were living in Chinatown. At some point in our tenure I tried (and failed) to learn to read Chinese characters. I did figure out how to say hello, thank you, and several variations of happy new year. I also added to my vocabulary the words for a smattering of fruits, vegetables and dumplings. And, if you ask me how to order a beer, I have your back.
Along with Muhammad Ali (“Don’t Do Drugs!”), the Keep America Beautiful campaign to stop littering (“Don’t be a litterbug!”) and President Jimmy Carter urging us to turn down the heat and put on a sweater, Smokey the Bear factored in quite prominently to my formative years. Thanks to him, to this day still I have an outsized paranoia of unwittingly setting the forest on fire. This sign is posted on the side of the firehouse in Jeffersonville, NY. The last I knew it had been removed to make way for a more contemporary mural. I was so happy to see that he’s back in place. And don’t you just totally dig his pants!