Friday, January 10, 2014

A page from my book: Inner Tube Seats

Whatever happened to this idea? The one where I feature a page from one of the books I'm selling at the etsy shoppe every Friday? Well, I did manage to do it once, and today makes twice. All of my usual Friday plans and routines—like hitting the estate sale circuit for the Day 2 discounts—have lately winged their way out the window for all the usual reasons (holidays, holidays). But today I'm back in the saddle, and though I visited just one sale it was the kind that really rejuvenates my interest in this whole enterprise (i.e., rifling through the things belonging to interesting people who are no longer with us). Today's sale was the estate of a lady artist who obsessively painted portraits of women—women of all shapes and sizes and ages and hairdos. I'm not saying that they're good or bad, just that I managed to limit myself to buying only four. And that two are fairly monumental. I'll post about them at a future date, but in the meantime you can check them out on my Instagram feed @thingummery.

I digress. This quartet of happy ’70s people reclining awkwardly on stuffed inner tubes is featured on the back cover of Easy-to-Make Tables & Chairs,  a Sunset Book published in 1976. Now I don't find anything "easy to make" except perhaps a bowl of ramen, but if I were the DIY type, I'd make me some of these plywood chairs and parsons tables, porch swings, pedestals and of course, the rainbow-rrific "inner-tube seats"! I must've been rushing when I did this etsy listing—that is the only explanation as to why I neglected to include a shot of the "balloon chair," which requires only a cardboard box and about three dozen balloons to construct. Wanna make one? Learn how here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Tonight I'm gonna diet like it's 1965

I noticed a significant uptick in sweaty folk at my local health club last week, which reminded me that once again I forgot to make any resolutions for 2014. Then I came across this diet book while I initiated the impossible task of cleaning out my office (that was kind of a resolution moment, right?), and found myself a game plan for the New Year: Eat, drink and be slender! Jane and Kent Voss (not to mention the redoubtable Dr. Ludwig Lederer) totally had me at hello. The first paragraph of Shed Pounds with Cocktails and Gourmet Fare

At long last, here is a diet designed for those who have stopped smoking and need a weight control method which requires the absolute minimum of will power. It is also helpful for those who, having approached middle age, find it difficult to lose on the usual low-calorie diet. You may actually lose weight while eating more.

Who cares if I gave up smoking 11 years ago—did you know a Manhattan only has 6.9 grams of fat? 2014 is off to a promising start. Cheers to all!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Write what you like, write what you know

The greatest thing about blogging is being able to write about what you care about. It may be surprising to some younger folk, but there was a time when not everyone and their pet poodle had the opportunity to gas on about their personal business, passions and interests in a public forum. In my days as a magazine editor, I was often asked why I didn't write more—there was always so much more glory to writing and little attention paid to the proverbial Man Behind the Curtain—and I just said that I only like to write about what I like to write about. Which is why, if you flip through my (not very thick) book of clips, you'll mostly find articles about Renaissance Faires and old-man bars. I must've set up a thousand celebrity interviews back in the day, but the only one I ever conducted myself was with Lucy Lawless. To say I was a Xena, Warrior Princess superfan would be seriously understating the case.

That's the sort of attitude that will limit one's assignments as a freelancer (why doesn't my Breyer-horse pitch have any takers?), but I got lucky recently when a former colleague gave me the opportunity to write about my love for vintage-decorating books in The Wall Street Journal. Check it out here.

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