Category Archives: Stuff

Canadiano, Crafted CoffeeDecember 19, 2013

Canadiano (from Fishtnk Design Factory) has redesigned the standard coffee pour-over with a block of wood. Using FSC-certified timber, a series of concentric circles are carved to form a cone, and a little stainless steel filter replaces the need for paper filters. The brew method is even similar to regular pour-overs, with a slow 2-4 minute pour. However, what sets these apart from the beehives is how the wood version absorbs the coffee oils and, over time, enhances the cup’s flavor (single origin beans, repetition of the same roast, and their Raw editions are recommended to really achieve this). Canadiano‘s current production includes cherry, walnut, and maple, with each species prescribed for different roasts. Walnut’s dark hues apparently help along those darker, earthier roasts (like Indonesian coffees) while maple and cherry capitalize on those citrus and nutty notes (think Ethiopian, Guatemalan, and Columbian). Perhaps my most favorite feature – easy peasy maintenance. Just a quick rinse after brewing to let those oils soak in. Honestly, I pretty much do this anyway with my Chemex and french press because I’m so lazy.

So let’s count up the pros here:

  1. It’s Canadian.
  2. It’s coffee.
  3. It’s wood.
  4. It’s sustainable.
  5. It’s virtually maintenance-free.

BONUS: The advertising:

Images & videos vía Canadiano.

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Heath Holiday 2013December 17, 2013


Each year, I’ve pared down the clutter of holiday decor to make way for fresh-cut branches and simple ornaments here and there. However, perhaps a few new toys wouldn’t hurt, eh? Last year I was swooning over Schoolhouse Electric‘s German holiday folk decor (my favorite is available again this year!), and these wooden pyramids from Heath Ceramics continue my desire to start collecting. I wasn’t sure what I loved so much about it last year, but I started to think about why I could validate my attraction even further…

Despite both my maternal and paternal grandmothers coming from different cultures and backgrounds (Grandma was a Philly gal born in Belfast and Mom-mom was a Polish girl from New England), I remember lingering on some folksy holiday decor in both of their homes. Each of them also had great respect for items of quality. So it is no surprise that I became an uber fan of Heath Ceramics and most everything they offer, especially these new additions to their classic holiday collection:

“Our hand-crafted wooden holiday decorations are made by a cooperative of artisans in the town of Seiffen, Germany, known as “toy village,” where woodworking has been a part of the local trade for hundreds of years. These pyramids continue a centuries-old tradition of portraying various winter country scenes that celebrate the season. Heat from the candles rises, causing the propeller to spin for a fun and quaint centerpiece.”

Of course, they will always remind me of Cousin Eddie, but that only makes it better.

 1. Deers & Large Tree Pyramid | 2. Mini Shepard Pyramid | and see more here.

Images & quote from Heath Ceramics.

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Schoolhouse Electric’s New Fall CollectionSeptember 18, 2013

 

While the wonderful fall weather is giving me great joy, Schoolhouse Electric’s photos of their new fall campaign are making it even better. They’re crisp and bright and a little unexpected with polka dots and graphic art. It’s refreshing to see how they’ve easily infused a little more life in a season that, let’s face it, can recede into dark tones after a long run of summer’s bright and airy aesthetic.

What makes me most happy about these images is that I can see the spaces coasting through winter and into spring. Schoolhouse still manages to produce classics (mostly made in the USA and by artisans, which I love) that can carry not only through seasons, but through different functions and spaces. Take their Wire Framed Trash Bin – I would totally make this a planter. Here are some more favorites:

(Clockwise from top left: LET IT GO Wall Banner by Ashley Brown Durand, National Parks Print by Ello There, Black Dot Teapot, Miles Desk Lamp, Herringbone Rug (a collaboration with Tess Darrow of Egg Press), and Wire Frames Trash Bin)

 

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curating the ROASTING shopDecember 14, 2012

It’s been a work in progress but the shop is really shaping up! Reclaimed pine countertops are installed, vintage chairs and tables have replaced the dining table (just in time for holiday dinners, too!), and a final installment of shelves are under way. And while Pop was taking care of those things, I’ve been curating a small collection of handcrafted items from some favorite vendors for the season:

Chase Studios: Fellow coffee addict, Heather Ossandon, invited me into her studio to co-design the custom mugs for the shop. She also brought in some of her recent pieces – vases, carafes, mini cups – and has some more exciting things in the works for us. Currently based in Haddonfield, New Jersey, but she’s actually a native of the Medford area where the shop is located. Small world!

Chez Sucre Chez: Kimberly Scola’s “handcrafted miscellany” has been on my fave list for years. Her embroidery work is simple and perfect every time, but she’s been getting some high praise lately from Martha herself with her pretty and functional sewn goods. But I don’t need Martha to tell me that her bowl covers, mulling spices, and other goodies are great, because I already knew that. And it happens to be that this Thornton, Pennsylvania, transplant is yet another native of the shop’s location. Even smaller world!

Melo Studios: I met co-owner Olivia Lotz through Craigslist. After an exchange of quality furnishings, we soon realized our meeting was meant to be – her husband, a contractor, and I started networking for future projects, and I knew I’d find a way to get her candles into my possession (muah-ha-ha). She and her partner, Jess Lee, hand pour each candle in their Germantown studio – not Medford, but still local.

To put it all together, I spent an afternoon with Stacy Jackson at Meadowsweet Vintage in Manayunk poring over her treasures. The various crates and hardware drawers assembled on the wall are from her shop, as well as the Neapolitan flip coffee pots added for good measure. So one wall down, one wall to go! 

 

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A Very Lucy ChristmasNovember 13, 2012

What does that title mean, exactly? Well, if you even plan to name your child Lucy, beware that it probably means she will be both stubborn and silly. (Blame her.) So this Christmas, with a wiser look on the world, Miss Lucy will inevitably make a Christmas list that will make this mama cringe – princesses, glitter, pink, purple… yuck. I’d be hypocritical not to allow these things in my house, as I myself wore lace and fur as a toddler, worshiped Debbie Gibson at a fairly young age, and I turned out ok, I guess. However, with little pocket money and of minimalist aesthetic (sort of… I collect vessels and chairs like no tomorrow), we’ll make this fun, old-fashioned, family Christmas more pragmatic but seemingly bent toward the self-appointed princess of the house:

  1. Shoes: Kids need ’em, and she wears them out like their are her j-o-b. These botas are perfect for the winter and approved by kiddo for being pink and by mama for being grey. Win-win. And those Mary Janes ain’t too bad either…
  2. Body pillow: We transitioned her into the big girl bed with just a pillow to buffer a midnight fall. So far, so good, and this Colette Bream pillow is a perfect fit for her new room.
  3. Sewing kit: She’s only three, but she’s already interested in the domestic arts like her mum. I found this simply lovely Montessori-approved kit on Etsy, but think Lucy would rather go for something more challenging and colorful, like this vintage “Sew Many Animals” kit. The pun makes it worth it, right?
  4. Sleeping bag: I fully appreciate that she still naps, and would like to upgrade her nap mat at school for a nice cushy one from Anorak. It’s neither pink nor princess but, kissing rabbits? C’mon!
  5. Breakfast: This kid loves breakfast – particularly sausage and bacon. So perhaps some faux brunch to add to the kitchen? I’m getting tired of being served fake tea and pizza, anyway…

So despite having a Lucy, I think we’ve covered the silly, and the stubborn is quashed by amazing color and geometry. Gifts for this one will get harder, but I fully appreciate the naivety of a 3 year old for the moment.

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A Schoolhouse HolidayNovember 12, 2012

I’ve been oddly attracted to German folk art lately – in ceramics, embroidery, wooden objects, etc. (perhaps all the general store research I’ve been up to?) So I was happy to stumble upon Schoolhouse Electric Co.‘s assemblage of Dregano pieces in their holiday section. I grew up with little smokers like these around the house, though I never remember them being used. I also have waited years to find the perfect treetopper. It’s thisclose to being in a virtual cart and shipped to my house.

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Moleskine Photo BookSeptember 25, 2012

Until my daughter’s preschool required printed photos of her a few weeks ago, I realized we hadn’t physically printed a photo in over 2 years! I always mean to, but there’s always excuses – the USB drive didn’t work at Target (argh!), the account login page at Walgreen’s was down the day I tried, my printer was out of ink… But 2 years? C’mon, Jamie. Get it together.

Well, now I’m smitten over Moleskine‘s newest collaboration with MILK Photo Books – aptly named the Moleskine Photo Book. Since we upgraded the family camera to a DSLR, we’ve snapped some pretty amazing shots of our kid and such. [Wait – rewind that a little – since we upgraded our lens for a larger aperture, we’ve captured some great non-blurry images of our running toddler.] While I’ve used other book-printing services in the past, the combination of both companies’ signature details make it a truly unique collaboration. Moleskine’s classic black journal, with its sleek lay-flat binding and rounded edges, gets an inset cover photo and a linen sleeve (with the plus upgrade) from MILK for a perfect modern family album.

Production starts in October, but you can pre-order right here. They’d also make for a great portfolio, yes? Or custom storybook for the little one? Oh, the possibilities!

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Ancient Planter SecretJune 20, 2012

Joey Roth‘s newest design, Planter, is derived from an old system… not unlike his modern interpretation of the phonograph with his Ceramic Speakers.

Planter is made from unglazed earthenware (a naturally porous material) and has a core vessel which slowly irrigates the soil, as shown below. This sustainable water conservation technique, called Olla, is still used today in dry climates.

Planter is available for pre-order now for only $45.

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creature comfortsJune 7, 2012

Bloom Room debuted a truly revolutionary line of high quality furniture… for pets. The French line, called Chimère, consists of a rocking birdcage, a kitty litter box, a “sofa” for small furry friends, fishbowl, and a hutch for even smaller furry friends (think bunnies, hamsters, and mice), appealing to lovers of all creatures, great and small. My favorite is the hutch because so little attention is ever paid to the habitats of tiniest furballs, often left to live in mud rooms and other places only seldom visited by its owners (I’m referring to the children who pinky-swore they would take care of a new pet).

Perhaps what us good parents need is a better way to incorporate the family pets into our living spaces… and add a not-so-subtle reminder to feed or clean the cage before picking up the remote. Chimère‘s sophisticated dwellings offer a new perspective on making all the members of your family live in harmony and beauty.

Via Fast Company

 

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FIELD TRIP – Clover MarketMay 18, 2012

Last year I heard so many wonderful things about Clover Market but had conflicts with almost every date. So yesterday I fought my way through the traffic of Philadelphia to get to Ardmore and see things for myself. It was a lovely day to be out and about, so lovely that I made it a family affair with Tom and Lucy. I met some new local vendors with handmade and vintage wares, including Made by Liddy, whose paper Kusadama balls made me want to get an early start to Christmas shopping (I’ve done it before).

I even loved her signage, which was the nailhead-and-string effect that I’ve been noticing a lot lately. Nevertheless, Liddy’s booth was simple and inspiring – I’m looking forward to what she cooks up in the future!

(more…)

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