There are so many fun and interesting holiday ornaments that I decided to post a few here as part of our gift guide. Enjoy!
Papercut Mittens from Sarah Louise Matthews
Christmas Cats from Old World Primitive
Woodland Ornaments from Pipo Doll
Victorian Tintype Ornaments from Fine Vintage Goods
Antique Glass Ornament from Put Family First
The countdown to the holiday season is upon us. I’ve been Christmas shopping like crazy. I haven’t sent mine out yet, but I’ve already received a few cards in the mail. Here are a few of our favorite holiday cards from Etsy.
from Wishbone Letterpress
from Echo Letterpress
from 55 Hi’s
For the next local artist segment, I wanted to showcase some art by Chris Pottinger. He recently won the Kresge Arts Fellowship in Detroit for his performance art, but also makes these really awesome and weird illustrations. It’s great to see people who can focus on what they love to do and succeed at it. Congrats on the Arts Fellowship!
All artwork by Chris Pottinger at Tasty Soil
My sister is having a baby at the end of May. This weekend my mom, my aunt, and I had the pleasure of throwing her a baby shower at the Ladies Literary Club in Ypsilanti. It’s a boy, Henry, so we decided on a circus theme. Here’s a roundup of some of the food and decorations.
In addition to my Woodland Michigan Playset and Animals of America Playset, I have added my third and (for now) final installment, the Prehistoric Playset. This set includes a brontosaurus, triceratops, sabertooth tiger, and, my favorite, wooly mammoth. Look for all three playsets in our Etsy store at some point in the next few days!
My main project over the last month or so has been to make a peg puzzle for my niece’s first birthday. I was able to celebrate her birthday with her at my brother and sister-in-law’s house yesterday, and give her the newly-made puzzle.
First, after tracing the shapes I wanted on a thin sheet of wood, I drilled a small insert hole at different points of each shape for a scroll saw blade to fit through. Once I got the blade through, I could cut out each shape, leaving me this:
Then, I glued that onto another piece of wood of equal thickness.
I had to re-cut the inside pieces since the pieces I originally cut out had drill holes on the sides of them. I then painted each piece and also painted a scene on the main board.
Finally, I found some little wooden pegs at a craft store and glued them to the Michigan/animal pieces. I had to saw off the end of each peg because they were a little long, but they worked really well otherwise. Here’s the finished product:
Happy birthday, Madeline!
One of my favorite blogs to read recently has been a blog on the history of Corktown, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Detroit. While reading it the other day, I was surprised to discover that Corktown was once home to circus grounds and then later, Detroit’s first zoo.
You can read the full account of The Detroit Zoological Garden’s history on the Corktown History blog, but the stories of the zoo are fascinating. Some of the most bizarre accounts include a legend of the original circus owner skipping town and abandoning his animals, as well as the zoo having a human exhibit of “primitive people” on display.
As for this blog, as a lover all things old-timey and circus-themed, I wanted to share some of the older photographs and fliers, starting with a picture of The Detroit Zoological Gardens, post-demise, in 1906 after it was converted into a horse market.
from Corktown History
Here are some old fliers for the zoo, along with a listing of the animals, which was published by the Detroit Free Press, just prior to the zoo’s opening:
“These comprise huge cages of rare birds of many kinds, a colony of monkeys, two black bears, one cub of the same species, one sun bear, a beautiful animal, one jaguar, one hyena of most unamiable aspect, one superb silver lioness, a fat-tail sheep, the celebrated lion Duke, who has killed three men and evidently “aches” to kill another, a noble elk lately purchased of McKee Rankin, a pair of Cape (African) buffalos, the yak Mollie, so well known to visitors at Central Park, New York, a pair of sacred cattle and calf, and India deer, who would run his spike horns through a man in a second if he could get the opportunity, a boa-constrictor, thirteen and one-half feet long, foxes, badgers, coons, Muscovy ducks, and a pair of camels.”
from Corktown History
from Corktown History
And finally, a great photo of a circus on Michigan Avenue, occurring after the zoo had closed in 1893:
from Corktown History, courtesy of The Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library
One thing I’m focusing on during my January cleanse is letting go of my attachment to material things. This is hard for me because I am sort of a compulsive collector by nature. I was thinking about ways to minimize the clutter in my home and found myself looking at my bookshelf.
I’m studying new media, so print books should be easy to give up right? Wrong. I have a serious case of bibliophilia. I am particularly fond of old books. I like the inscriptions in the front covers and the yellowing pages and the biting smell of mildew.
I can’t get rid of any of them. Maybe I could make something out of them. Although I don’t think I could ever bring myself to destroy one of my books. I love these upcycled ideas for books with pretty covers, but damaged interiors.
Hardback Book Lamp from Typewriter Boneyard
IPhone Charging Dock from Rich Neely Designs
My problem remains unsolved but if it gets out of hand there’s always the bath.
Bathtub Bookshelf from Bookshelf Porn
The other day I received a letter from my friend, Dan, in Alaska along with these two cards:
They both have complete descriptions, the history of the animal, and a list that includes phylum, class, order, family, and characteristics. I especially enjoy the little symbols at the top of the cards. The middle one clearly indicates where the animal lives, (in this case the water of the plains), but I’m not sure what the others mean.
The letter explaining how he found the cards goes as follows:
“There’s a lot of junk here in Coldfoot – the whole eastern part of the camp is full of old machinery and vehicles and abandoned by miners and road construction crews. A lot of them have windows broken out and plants growing on them… There’s about 1,000 of these animal cards that I looked through one day. I thought you’d enjoy these two.”
I can only imagine how many other treasures lie in the abandoned part of the camp, but I’m really glad he saved and sent me these two gems with the best animals of all on them.