Sunday, May 28, 2017

under the sea

 I got this cool octopus ring for free from Save Our Oceans, an online shop with products and passion to raise awareness about issues affecting our oceans. 

traversing the unknowns

This beautiful book, Minute Stories of Famous Explorers, written by Jerome S. Kates features 73 maps by the author and 321 illustrations by Herbert S. Kates.  The book was published in 1934, and the yellowed paper pages add to the beauty of the charts, portraits and story highlights reminiscent of a Ripley's Believe It or Not panel.  Each explorer's saga is told in one page, as here:
Sir William E. Parry
He sailed his ships across what his former captain mistook for mountains
Lieutenant Parry left England in 1819 to continue the search for the northwest passage and to explore the islands of Lancaster Sound, which Ross, his former captain, had mistaken for a high mountain range the year before.  His ships passed with ease through the Sound and Barrow Strait, discovering a channel which led westward for 650 miles.  Passing close to the North Magnetic Pole, the compass began to play tricks with him, But Parry struggled past Bathhurst Island to Melville Island where he spent the winter.  Entertainment in the form of theatricals and sports was provided, and a newspaper was published.  When several men developed scurvy, Parry cured them with mustard and cress which he raised in boxes of earth in his cabin.
The next spring they explored the island before trying in vain to sail farther west.  Blocked by ice, Parry was forced to return home.  In 1821 he was sent out again with two ships, the Hecla and the Fury, and made his way by a more southerly course through Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay to his winter quarters off Melville Peninsula.  Not until July 2nd were the vessels free again, and he sailed up Fox Channel, discovering and naming Fury and Hecla Strait.  He was unable to push through, however, and had to spend another winter here.  It was a severe one, and the ships were still frozen in on August 1st.  Parry decided that the only thing to do was to saw his way out and after ten days of hard work the vessels were at last freed and returned home.
As a result of Parry's two voyages many of the geographical ideas of the day regarding the regions north and northwest of Labrador had to be changed.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Bon voyage!

Wishing a very safe and pleasant journey to Dean and Suzan and Woodstock as they start their two month boat trip! Leaving Buzzards Bay, Puffin will head west through Block Island Sound and Long Island Sound to the East River around Manhattan past the Statue of Liberty! Up into the Hudson River turning west at Troy into the Erie Canal, through Oneida Lake and the Oswego Canal, they'll then turn north and hug the east coast of Lake Ontario. At Kingston they'll go into the Rideau Canal to Ottawa, then east on the Ottawa River to meet up with my parents for a few fun days in Montreal. After a little jog on the St. Lawrence River they'll turn south at Sorel into the Richelieu Canal, Lake Champlain, and the Champlain Canal. Heading south on the Hudson and east above Long Island again, back to Buzzard's Bay they'll come home to Fairhaven. On this loop there are over a hundred locks to go through and countless islands to pass by. Dean has been thinking about the trip for a few years since getting Puffin, and now to actually do it is very exciting!  What a wonderful adventure, a trip of a lifetime!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

clever carpenter

My uncle, David Farrar, is one of the funniest people on the planet, and he makes beautiful birdhouses. I love his unique style using pieces of salvaged old wood for interesting roofs birds can perch on and neat details that make each a birdhome.

Friday, May 12, 2017

heaven scent

opening up!

Monday, May 8, 2017

to the moon

 Shannon MacGrogan-Ellis makes wonderful whimiscal hand printed pictures from hand-carved rubber blocks.  The darling hare falls asleep with his rocketship toy and then dreams of flying in a real one.  More in the series have the same theme--take a look on her site at the fox with a balloon and the bear with an airplane.  Everyone asks if these will be part of a children's book, and Shannon says it's a possibility after she finishes a few more. The prints will be available on Etsy soon and can be found now at Church St Art & Craft in Mt Holly, NJ.

Friday, May 5, 2017


These two beauties, a painted brass lamp finial and a silver-plated brass bottle stopper, have different  functions but go together very well.

Monday, May 1, 2017

righty tighty

another dime shows the scale of these incredibly tiny watch screws 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

what's a dime really worth?

My brother Chris drilled these tiny .014 inch holes into a dime with a sensitive drill press he restored. The hole that doesn't go all the way through shows the post-1964 construction of a pure copper inner layer sandwiched between two layers of cupronickel, a 75% copper and 25% nickel alloy. While dimes are mostly copper but look so silver, pennies are 97.5% zinc and only 2.5% copper! It's interesting when you consider how the intrinsic value of the metals can be higher or lower than the face value of coins and how both are fluctuating constantly. This and other factors like scarcity and demand contribute to the numismatic value of coins. Whereas most dimes are worth ten cents, this one is much more interesting and valuable to me!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

amazing lace

I found Caroli Esguerra's amazing crafts at Copper World in Calumet, Michigan.  Her family-run company The Rose Lady preserves real leaves with a special process to keep the delicate veins visible. Each one is unique and beautiful, dipped in copper, silver or gold, taking a week to complete. The elegant shapes of aspen, birch, oak, cottonwood, sugar maple, silver maple, Japanese maple, and eucalyptus are made into ornaments, earrings and more.

Monday, April 24, 2017

marvels of motion

This tiny doll shoe kind of reminds me of
this odd little pewter head which kind of reminds me of
the semi-creepy logo of a really cool company, Optical Toys in Vermont. 
If you are in need of a thaumatrope, a zoetrope or a phenakistascope, Andy Voda has these and all sorts of interesting optical toys available, both reproductions and his own creations. Forerunners to the movies, these paper games are wonderful studies in motion and animation. I especially love the fun flip books:
 Cockatoo flying, Eadweard Muybridge
 Boys leapfrogging, Eadweard Muybridge 
Lightstorms, Jan Karel Lameer 
 Kinetoscopic record of a sneeze, Thomas Edison
Gestation animation, Karl Baden
 Bactrian camel galloping, Eadweard Muybridge

Sunday, April 23, 2017

duck feet

 funny little slippers, also available in frog, flamingo, dinosaur and penguin

Friday, April 21, 2017

monkey & donkey

 lil knit finger puppet friends

salivarial synergies

YumEarth makes the earth's best lollipops. Their ingredients are as they say "short and sweet." Razzmatazz Berry is the best in the bag for me, it makes my salivary glands shoot out saliva from under my tongue in a glorious rush of refreshing fruit ecstacy every time I have one. All the other flavors are extremely enjoyable as well: Pomegranate Pucker, Perfectly Peach, Very Very Cherry, Mango Tango, Strawberry Smash, Googly Grape, and Wet-Face Watermelon.
Chili Mango Mambo and Chili Lime Lambada are both wildly yummy, not too hot, just a perfect tang with a spicy twist for your tongue. I'd love to see (taste) more chili flavors added to this candy company's line of luscious lollipops.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

spurious scents

like non-alcoholic beer, kinda funny product!