A solution for paper oddments and idle hands

decorated matchboxes
Including papers from Florence, Amsterdam, Chinatown, and pages from an old children’s dictionary!

I impulse-bought a bunch of match books from a local shop. Cause it sucks when you suddenly find yourself without a lighter (as your friends are all secretly kelptos).

When I got home, I couldn’t get past how unsatisfying the design on the boxes was, and how I didn’t want to look at them (scroll down). So I set myself a little project, inspired by the book cover matchbooks I’ve bought at Word in Greenpoint (scroll down). Gold paint, some paper and a glue stick. Voila!

For mine, I just grabbed a bunch of paper oddments from my drawer of same, and started cutting them up. Below is a batch of ten, complete; there are different papers on the obverse of each. I reckon I’ll do more, cause it’s an oddly satisfying occupation for idle hands.
decorated matchboxes
decorated matchboxes

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The Comme des Garçons show at the Met

Comme des Garçons show at the Met
Some friends and I took a trip into the Big Town on Monday to check out a couple exhibits at the Met. One was the Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons exhibit of works spanning some decades. The gallery space was designed specially for this, a collaboration between the artist and the Met, and the whole experience was stunning and ethereal, and sometimes creepy (in a great way). We really enjoyed it, and I wish it had been less crowded even, so I may have spent more time sketching.

We also looked at the Irving Penn retrospective, also pretty damn wonderful and inspiring. Below are some photos from the first exhibit. Enjoy!
Comme des Garçons show at the MetComme des Garçons show at the MetComme des Garçons show at the MetComme des Garçons show at the MetComme des Garçons show at the MetComme des Garçons show at the Met

Sunset Swing beer can labels

Here’s a first for me: Beer can label design for the Sunset Swing annual gala, held by one of my clients (Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp.). Five Boroughs Brewing Co. created a brew just for the upcoming event, and this is the proof for the finished labels. So fun!

Below are some photos of the can and the ad journal from the event last evening. They were printed with a metallic gold for the lettering and silver for windows, which looks fantastic.

A treasure from Berlin!

Yesterday I received a wonderful surprise in the mail— this gorgeous piece of artwork by Luiza Mogosanu! This piece is in a celluloid frame from 1930s Germany, she told me in her note on the little card (a print of the same piece). I have already put it on the wall, next to another vintage oval frame. Thank you, Luiza!

This was a volley in return for some art I sent her a few weeks back. It’s such a delight to meet a fellow artist, and now I have an art pen pal in Berlin. Check out Luiza’s other artworks at her website! She is a gifted visualist, and full of light, of joy.


It fits in very well as I have a small collection of insects and bones on the shelf below all my paintbrushes.

Kitchen Nook, revisited


You may recall a post in which I talked about getting a new (to me) piece of furniture for the nook between the kitchen and the dining area of my apartment. The secretary in question arrived a couple weekends ago, a piece from the childhood home of a dear friend of mine. Before it arrived, I cleared that wall and painted it as per my plan.

It suits very well! And brings a gravitas to the space; still has plenty of room for the do-dads that were on the old shelves, plus room for stemware, a jar of creepy dolls, and the nested mixing bowls that belonged to my great aunt Dot.

Now I just need a more elegant solution to the cords from the lamps, and to replace the broken drawer pulls. I also plan to get a globe lamp to reside on top to illuminate the nook in general, in addition to the string lights inside.
Below is the composite I made in Photoshop last year to visualize the transformation:kitchen nook redesign

Notes from the archives

drawing_02_dinosaurs
While upstate over the holiday, I did some excavating and archiving of old art* and other things when I could find time. Often late at night, when the house was quiet.  The first night followed time spent watching old super 8 home movies from childhood. A natural progression, and something I’d planned to do this trip.

Time travel.

When I was in college my friends and I didn’t have our own phones, so we’d put sheets of paper on our doors for people to leave notes on. Inevitably some of them became elaborate volleys back-and-forth; sometimes we made random shit just for fun, or to say Hi to stick on each other’s doors.
notes left on my doors in collegeWe also wrote letters through the mail during summers apart because: 1. The cost of  “long distance” calls added up quickly, 2. We were all about visuals (what would delight and impress?),  and 3. The letters were things made just for you, delivered right to your mailbox.colorful envelopesOne thing that physical (analog) v. digital (instant) media has thrown into relief: When you know the recipient will not get your letter for days, and it’s already been days or more since they wrote you, you think about what will still be relevant by the time they read it. This tends to eliminate a majority of small talk.

What I mean is you tend to write about what’s important.

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A table restoration project | Process

Before and After: a Queen Anne style reproduction, restored
Before and After: a Queen Anne style reproduction, restored

A few weeks ago, as I mentioned in this post, I found a discarded table around the corner from my apartment. It’s a modern reproduction, a simplified (straight legs not curved) variant on a Queen Anne style (yay, more QA!). It’s a gaming table to boot, as the top flips over and the obverse is felt-lined. A really pretty and well-constructed piece.

The post referenced above has a few ‘before’ images, including ones in which the Gaming Table aspects are shown, all of which have remained intact after this restoration of the exterior (top and legs only).

Bottom of the table, showing the beverage rest drawers and the inner section that holds game pieces
Bottom of the table, showing the beverage rest drawers and the inner storage section, as well as the hardware and joints where the legs connect
Wood stripping and refinishing supplies
Stripping and refinishing supplies*
Queen Anne style gaming table to be restored
Ready to dismantle and begin stripping the finish off

Drop cloth in place, the top surface is ready for stripping. Heavy duty gloves and disposable foam applicators, as this stuff is destructive (it will eat through latex gloves, don’t use ’em).

I used the fast-working type of stripper (with windows wide open and fan on on a very breezy day). Slather it on the wood— thick so it doesn’t dry too fast. You have to scrape the coating off while it’s still wet or it gets hardened.

Table top slathered in first coat of streipper
Table top slathered in first coat of stripper

06This part is immensely satisfying, all those layers of old finish coming off. I learned as I stripped the piece that several types of wood were used, which explains why it was finished in such a way that looked stained and polished like an antique, but was in fact an opaque, painted finish to hide the discrepancies. That also masks places in which wood filler was used.

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