Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's On My Desk!

In what is sure to be the most talked about edition of What's On My Desk! ever, I present to you a selection of objects so charming, so amazing, so wonderous that I actually have no idea what they are. Let me explain:

About a month ago, Jennifer spied a set of these at an unnamed resale shop in Houston, Texas and immediately purchased them. They're about six inches long and appear to be slides of some kind for an antique Viewmaster style device. Each slide is sandwiched between two pieces of glass taped together with red paper tape. They seem to depict various battles and incidents (with the exception of the 4th slide down) from the Russo-Japanese war in the early 1900s and the Opium wars of the mid 1800s and have notes about the contents of the slide in German. Unfortunately, they are not a complete set and a few are heavily damaged. Nonetheless they definitely are like nothing I'd ever seen before. The illustrations are amazing and the colors are still shockingly vibrant when viewed with backlight despite their age.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's On My Desk - Tea cards

Two words. The British. They may seem stuffy with tea time, the assorted royalty, and their proclivity to spell tire t-y-r-e but don't let that fool you. Beneath their 18th century Wainscoted veneer they know how to get down like no one else. I cite before you as examples the ear piercing whine of a four cylinder turbocharged Lotus Esprit, the throaty roar of an RAF Spitfire hurtling through the clouds, or the face numbing sweat-streaked howling badassedness of these Brooke Bond Tea cards.

So here's the skinny: Brooke Bond & Company was engaged in the practice of selling tea. In the 1950s and 60s they offered various series of small, illustrated collector's cards as a promotion to appeal to the children of their customers . Each set of cards ran about fifty in number all conforming to a specific theme such as "Famous Britons" or "Butterflies Of The World" and could be placed in their own miniature album which contained additional illustrations and further details about the subject of the series. Needless to say all are amazingly illustrated and not all that easy to get a hold of. This is especially true if you're looking for a complete set, the collector's album and you want them in decent shape. I've been fortunate enough to obtain three such sets-
The Race Into Space: Man's first 50 Steps Into The Universe, The Saga Of Ships, and The Sea- Our Other World (my personal favorite!).

So sit down, get comfy, and enjoy a couple of photos. Brooke Bond Tea Cards- on my desk!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My daily inspiration...

...which is NOT smoking.

Here is a shot of one of the neat things I found while in an antique shop: a tiny old box that used to contain cigarettes. I would have never wanted to toss this box out after finishing the smokes!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Octopus and The Submarine print

We've added a new item to our store: The Octopus and The Submarine 8" x 10" mini poster! You recall a previous entry by John showing the progress of making the illustration (if not, see 12/8 entry).

Unfortunately, it does not come framed as shown above. However, you can get a nice, inexpensive frame from Ikea —we chose the 8" x 10" size— or you can float the art in a much larger frame.

You can see it in our Etsy store through the title link or through our mini Etsy at the left margin of our blog.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Early Office Museum

Take a look at this amazing collection of photos from offices that were here in the States and elsewhere dating from the 1700s to early 1900s. I stumbled on this site will searching for old desks. I've selected a few to show here, including one from the Sears, Roebuck, and Co. order entry office (second photo). I love this site.

Photos from the Early Office Museum. Click title to view site.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The American Museum of Natural History, NYC

Upon my return from a holiday in Texas, we decided to visit the Natural History Museum here in New York. For one, it's been many years since we last visited and for two, the Horse exhibit was going to be ending. We were a little shocked at the "special" exhibit price though—a whopping $48 for two tickets. Now, don't mistake us for not appreciating the cost of having access to these museums and their amazing collections, because we really do. Consider this though: For a family of four (two adults and two children), tickets to view the Horse exhibit would total $76 (24 per adult and 14 per child). How many families can afford this? Perhaps their intended audience is from a higher income bracket or maybe it's just a tourist trap. Maybe I'm just thinking too much on it. In the end, we paid and checked out the show.

Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what I had hoped (I was anticipating wall-size photographic depictions of all horse species from miniatures to heavies and drafts, as well as a temporarily installed grooming booth with information on proper care, and even a room full of saddles from ancient to modern, ranging from all around the world)—I swear my expectations weren't completely colored by that sticker price. The best part of the show were the video clips from horse races and events from around the world (again, nothing on dressage and the saddlebred competions I once participated in, jumpers are usually mentioned instead). Photography was not allowed, therefore I have no images to share.

After the Horse exhibit, we spent some time with the Bird, Culture (various Peoples), Fossil, and Mammal Halls. Here are some photos that I did take.

PS. I love love love dioramas.