Groom Broom

Friday, October 31, 2008 6 comments
I love a good beard.  The Ulysses S. Grant/Robert E. Lee/Hemingway kinda beard where it looks like you grew it so you can spend your time chopping down trees or writing great American novels or leading armies or smoking meat or taking me out rather than doting over yourself in the mirror.  But when it comes to mustaches, those have to be fairly tidy, I suppose.  So, for the man who likes to keep his upper lip whiskers in order, this vintage "platinon" mustache comb would come in quite handy.  Bids sit at GBP 8.50 with about two days to go on UK Ebay.  
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Friday, October 31, 2008 2 comments

One of my grade school classmates always had wonderful Halloween parties.  In the early years, we bobbed for apples, put our fingers into bowls of peeled grapes and spaghetti...the typical kind of fare.  But we turned 12 and everything got fancy - and seriously spooky.  Instead of her house, her parents rented out the Rockhill Tennis Club, an old mansion that industrialist and Kansas City Star founder William Rockhill Nelson built for his daughter at the turn of the century (and supposedly the oldest tennis club west of the Mississippi).  The daughter died young and legend has it that she haunts that old house.  After hearing the stories of doors mysteriously closing and other haunting tales, we all filed into a dark, candle lit room and did our best to conjure Ms. Laura Nelson Kirkwood.  "Oh, us a sign!...Let us know that you're with us!," Brooke's dad chanted as we echoed in muffled whispers.  "Show us a sign!" All of a sudden, without the slightest breeze in this closed, dark room...the candles all went out.  Poof!  Surely, some trick, I thought!  Brooke's dad continued...something shook the table (probably his knee, I thought, despite the growing fear in his voice).  He continues..."Thank you for that sign, Laura...can you do something else?"  Suddenly, the candles all came ablaze!  Simultaneously!  "JESUS @#$@%#$ CHRIST!!!!!!!!" her dad yelled.  I was all too used to my father's swearing-laden road rage that would only emerge whenever I had friends in the car, but other people's parents just weren't that crass.  This had to be real!!!
Publishing Dreams, Shot to Smithereens

Friday, October 31, 2008 8 comments
A very sad day. My dear love, Men's Vogue, lays dying.  Ladies' Vogue is absorbing it and only two issues a year will appear...and the website (and blogs) will be no more (just as I was set to ramp up my contributions).  I'd love if Vogue would incorporate some of the writing and the great "what he carries" layouts into itself.  Fingers crossed.

This beautiful photo by Tom Munro appeared early on with a grand hunting tale by the glorious AA Gill.  
Spells to Cast...on the Tongue

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 7 comments
Oh, yum...salty and sweet.  For parties, I've been ripping off Vosges with what I call my "Hot and Sexy Chocolate Chips": Organic blue tortilla chips dipped in a mixture of semi-sweet chocolate, cayenne pepper (hot) and cinnamon, dusted with this amazing pink pepper rose petal (sexy) sea salt.  You just pop 'em in the freezer for about a minute and they're ready to go.  They cast about nine different spells on the tongue.  Similarly amazing, but less spicy, is Marlow & Sons' chocolate, caramel, sea salt torte.  That got me thinking - why hasn't anyone added sea salt to caramel apples?  Well, they have!  Amy's Gourmet Apples in Cedarburg, Wisconsin offers these Granny Smiths decked out with caramel, Belgian chocolate and the key ingredient (though at $15.99 a pop, that sea salt better have some seriously medicinal qualities).
What a Tool!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4 comments
With the economy in the stinker, many of us won't even have homes, let alone the dough to hire professionals for major fix-ups.  So, it's probably time to invest in some decent tools so you can attempt to keep your own house in order.  You might want to start at Garrett Wade.  Look at these beauties!  (Above: Folding scissors, $52.40)

Thread snips, $3.75 (not kidding!)

British brass padlocks, $23,95 (small), $29.95 (large)

Ok, a true toy, not a tool, but still wonderful: Bavarian Snow Sled, $239

Pruning tools with leather cases, lots of different prices
Montana Memories

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 5 comments

Evelyn and Ewen Cameron left England in 1889 to raise polo ponies on the plains of eastern Montana.  The venture failed, so this fancy English couple turned to ranching, like the rest of the homsteaders...and Evelyn took up glass plate photography to capture the beauty and the struggles and pay the bills.  It wasn't until 50 years after she died that her work became famous -- when Brooklyn author Donna M. Lucey tracked down her old friend who'd stashed nearly 2,000 of her negatives in her basement.  The resulting book, which, through diary entries and letters, tells Evelyn's transformation from English gentry to frontierswoman, is gorgeous.  (Above: A goshawk that Ewen winged in the fall of 1906 became a long term guest, even riding alongside the cat when the Camerons moved to different ranches in the winter).

Ewen and a mounted grey trumpeter swan taken on June 15, 1914, eleven months before Evelyn died.  These swans were quite rare -- alive or taxidermied; Ewen's was one of only about 20 in the world.

Ewen poses with a pronghorn antelope sometime in the 1890s.

Sheep shearer, Terry, Montana, early 20th century

Self Portrait, 1912

Ewen wanted to train their wolves but gave up on the idea because Evelyn was "too daring" with them, and he worried she would be hurt. He sent them to a zoo at Coney Island. - D.M.L.
Divine Dark Domino

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 6 comments
I always love Domino magazine, but this month's issue is especially divine.  They've gone dark!  And oh so elegant.  Jenna Lyons, J.Crew's creative director, graces the cover and much of the inside.  She, too, it turns out, is a tremendous fan of chalkboard paint.  (That's one of the bathrooms in her Brooklyn brownstone below -- look at those rough herringbone floors!).  While I certainly obsess over black walls, the truly exciting part of the issue is their section on blogs -- it includes me (as one of the Traditional Glam pack along with Style Court, Peak of Chic and Heather Clawson's lovely Habitually Chic).  Thanks so much Domino!

Ebay Shopping: Da Bomber

Monday, October 27, 2008 2 comments
A WWII RAF bomber jacket.  I have one that belonged to my dad's step dad (photo here).  It's heavier than carrying around a full living lamb on your back -- and much warmer.  The reserve isn't met yet with a little over five days left in the Ebay UK auction
HHH Holiday Shopping Guide v2

Monday, October 27, 2008 12 comments
{1} DAS Salt Hawaiian black lava sea salt (with lava and activated charcoal), Amazon, $6.99 for 6 oz jar  {2) Water purifying Iouseki stones and Binchotan charcoal and the charcoal water pitcher, Design within Reach, $25 and $85, respectively  {3} General's Primo Euro Charcoal Pencil Set, Dick Blick, $4.83  {4} HABA Charcoal and Mud Pack Facial Mask, Amazon, $20  {5} The Fine Cheese Co.'s Charcoal Crackers, The Fine Cheese Company of Bath, England, ~$5 (they carry them at gourmet stores all over).
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Friday, October 24, 2008 6 comments

Tasks this weekend: buy new watercolors and see Charlie Kaufman's new film Synecdoche, New York 4,567 times. The Times' Manohla Dargis, whose pen (or computer) tends to leave brilliant, wicked blisters on the reputations of many a Hollywood director or star, said this about Synecdoche: "To say that Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York” is one of the best films of the year or even one closest to my heart is such a pathetic response to its soaring ambition that I might as well pack it in right now." Incredible. Also check out Charlie talking to The Times about building the mamouth warehouse set in Bed Stuy. Opens today in NY and LA.

If Ever Up a Creek...

Thursday, October 23, 2008 1 comment
...with or without a paddle, it'd be best to be in said predicament in one of these.  Suwannee River boy Aaron Wells will whittle, bend and carve you a wooden kayak for $2,500 (or more).  (Spotted in the November issue of Garden & Gun).

The Hunter + The Modesty Flap

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 11 comments
Like a mullet (but oh, so much more chic), this puppy is all business in the front, party in the back.  For the man who wants to simulate a morning suit, first thing in the morning, in the woods?  (Ah, the American version of a formal hunt!) For the diligent man who tucks the back side of his jacket up between his legs into his belt to protect his manhood while straddling a precarious tree branch in order to really stalk his prey in its natural habitat?  I understand the drop seat concept with foot jammies, but my mind has run wild here.  Regardless, it's great. Bids sit at $18.50 with a little over a day to go.  (All you hunters out there, feel free to explain).   

Hollister's Blog Becomes an Outlet for an Only Somewhat Repressed Animal Obsession

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 7 comments
Growing up, Porter and I consistently begged for a dog, specifically a Scotty. We'd call him "Mac" and he'd be amazing. So, every spring, to test our preparedness for this responsibility, our parents bought us a couple snap dragons. If we could grow those and remember to water 'em, we'd get our Mac. "But mom, a dog would bark if it's hungry! It's just not the same thing!" I'd cry as I looked down upon my brown, crumbling test subject a week later. (I say this to myself now, only replace "dog" with "child"...well, and switch up the barking bits). So, it's no wonder that I love taxidermy. You get the aesthetics without the food (or the byproduct). I'm just holding out for someone to breed me a potty trained airedale or spinone.

So, finally getting to the point, photographer Diana Brennan dispatched herself to the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI to shoot their animals (and plants). I stole all these images from her flickr pool. So, after the spider plate, the monkey screen, the elephant facade, and the elephant and monkey Liverpool invasion, I'm forbidding myself from doing another animalian post for at least a day.

Liverpudlian Jumanji

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 1 comment
Continuing on my elephants-in-northern-U.K. kick, British artist Stephanie Quayle has helped a gaggle of monkeys, baboons, foxes and one life-size Indian bull elephant invade Liverpool. Her "Bull in a China Shop" show of thse messy clay creatures is up at the Trolley Gallery until Nov. 22. Also, be sure to check out the Trolley Books offerings, as well. Beautiful, intelligent and sobering stuff.

Homemade Holiday: DIY Decoupage

Monday, October 20, 2008 3 comments
Last night I saw an ad for K-Mart encouraging people to Christmas shop now and pay for the goodies in bits on layaway. While I wouldn't necessarily go this far, it's not a bad idea to start buying little things here and there to lessen the pain from the one-fell-swoop checking account annihilation caused by last minute impulse buys in December. You'll not only feel prepared for the onslaught, you'll be giving the best, most thoughtful gifts in your family. Or you can go all Martha Stewart and get crafty. So, here's my first idea for a good Homemade Holiday project: the Decoupage screen.

1) Get boards, give 'em a light sand.
2) Stain mahogany.
3) Find book of old naturalism prints -- flowers would be incredible (I used Walton Ford).
4) Scan your favorites.
5) Save at some wildly larger-than-life size.
6) If you have a program like Adobe InDesign, you'll be able to print in "tile" format, preserving the hugeness.
7) Assemble the pieces and rubber cement them together. Cut out the shape (and cut in portions to fit across the individual board as you see fit).
8) Cover boards with polyurethane.
9) Plop your cut out "print" on the wet varnish.
10) Slather the polyurethane over the whole thing, with ample quantities over the paper.
11) Put in hinges.
12) Done!

(Or, if you want to go wild in your own home, do this on a wall, not a screen. Bespoke wallpaper from your own hand!).

Monday, October 20, 2008 5 comments
If only all bugs and spiders could be trapped, 200x life size, between glass and paper.  My new John Derian spider plate, acquired Saturday...just in time for Halloween (and the rest of my life).
Tools of the (Booze) Trade

Thursday, October 16, 2008 6 comments
What do people do during economic depressions?  They get depressed and turn to depressants.  Might as well do it up in style.  Your 401(k)-less lady struggling with her cork? Pop out this puppy and give the gal a hand.  (Old Asprey pocket knife, $99)

Through all that Hard Knock Life business, the most memorable part of Annie (for me) was Miss Hannigan's tub full of moonshine.  Measure out your hooch in this double-sided jigger. (1930s Napier double sided jigger, $15)

If you can still afford bourbon, throw your ice in here and crush the bajeezus out of it.  Stress relief -- AND nice for dilution-friendly cocktails, like juleps.  (Vintage Ice-O-Mat, $5).
To Thine Own Apartment Be True

Thursday, October 16, 2008 11 comments
Nothing has given me more consistent fits over the last decade than Sex and the City.  (1) It bastardized feminism into some form of girl power that meant nothing more than being girlish and obsessing over boys and shoes; (2) It inspired a generation of tourists to invade New York to jump on a bus for a roll past Sushi Samba instead of, say, a visit to Hamilton's grave or the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster...(3) and then there was Carrie's apartment.  For her character, it was the wrong location, wrong size and the most non-desrcript decor ever captured on film. It's akin to Daphne Guinness stuffing her McQueen gowns into a closet that opens onto a room of Pottery Barn.  It's not about money, it's about personality and the confidence to instill that personality into all your things.  

Artist Herbert Pfostl must be flush with aesthetic confidence.  Fills his dark art with morbid animals and toys...fills his dark studio with morbid animals and toys.  He's found his aesthetic (and it's wonderful) and is running with it.  Thank goodness.  Check out his Paper Graveyard and his flickr stream.

Emblazoned Species

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2 comments
Solange Azagury-Partridge's jewels have dressed up the V&A, the Louvre and the London Design Museum, but we New Yorkers should be all aflutter this November when a show of her work opens at Sebastian + Barquet in Chelsea.  They won't just have rings and cuffs on hand, there's a $2.8 million 18k and white gold chandelier (for the house, not an ear) and an absolutely amazing $40,000 brass, bronze, crystal and gold Ballcrusher lamp (bony bird-like hand, with ring, with a vice grip on a -- crystal -- ball).  Check out the November issue of W for more of the scoop.  (Above: Dragonfly Cuff)

Libra Ring

Emerald Poison

Platonic Cuff

Adam Eve

Pisces Ring

Croc Skull