Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Maple Sugaring Season!

Today we tapped 12 trees in the back woods with 17 taps. This is our first season sugaring, and being complete newbies we decided to start small so we can learn our lessons and make mistakes on a small scale. Next year we will hopefully know what's what and can tap more extensively.

We are told that each tap generally produces 10-14 gallons of sap per season. With a total of 17 taps, this puts us at somewhere around 170-238 gallons of sap. It takes 50 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup, so if all goes well we are looking at about 3.5-5 gallons of maple syrup at the end of the season. Not enough to get rich, but enough to cover our pancake breakfasts for the next year :)

↓ First we gathered the proper accoutrements -- buckets, taps, tubing, a candy thermometer for sap boiling, felt sap filters, large boiling pots, etc. Most people use evaporators for the boiling down process. Maybe next year.
↓ Josh drilled holes in the buckets so we could run the sap tubing into them.

↓ Next we selected a few trees, and drilled holes for the taps.

↓ Taps were hammered into each hole.

↓ The taps started dripping moments after being inserted.

↓ Tubes were attached to the taps

↓ The other end of each tube was hooked up to the bucket for sap collection. Here's what our contraptions look like.

↓ Riley & Fern spent about ten seconds wondering what we were doing before turning their attention to more important things -- playing in the snow!

↓ Within a few minutes the tubes started to fill and drip into the bucket.

The hard part comes next when we will haul the buckets to the barn and spend hours boiling the sap in large pots we found at the flea market. We have no idea whether this is really going to work, but hey, we're giving it a shot! Stay tuned for updates on how we fare!

↓ Walking back to the house after tapping. The view from the woods was beautiful today. It was above freezing and the snow melt created a layer of fog that collected against the mountains.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Etsy Roundup: Vermont Sellers

Today I am sharing a roundup of some of the wonderful Vermont made products for sale on Etsy. All of the items above are either hand made or curated vintage from sellers in the great state of Vermont. If you've been searching for a unique gift, consider the talented and hardworking folks of Etsy!

Products above, clockwise from top left: Vintage Enamel Light Fixture  //  Handmade Copper Rings  //  Vintage Weather Vane  //  Roman Coin Ring  //  Beeswax Hexagons  //  Upcycled Ball Jar with Pump  //  Reclaimed Hardwood Farm Table  //  Vintage Skeleton Key  //  LL Bean Duck Boots  //  Pure Vermont Maple Syrup  //  Red Oak Salad Bowl   //  Vintage Kilim Rug

Sunday, February 24, 2013


You'll have to forgive me for posting pictures of snow yet again, but I have never seen the landscape as saturated as it is this morning. Usually the flakes do not stick to every tiny branch, but today they are like powdered glue, sticking to and accumulating in every nook and cranny. I came down with the flu Friday morning (thus my silence on the blog over the past few days), and this morning was the first time I felt good enough to go outside. It was a real treat to have such a beautiful view when I walked down the hill for the first time in a few days.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fern & Riley

Truth be told, we've been pretty lazy for the past few days. On Thursday mornings we generally go to the gym, and yet here I am in a bath robe taking photos of my dogs. In the absence of any real or useful content to share this morning, I'm resorting to the old standby of cute pup pictures :)

Fern is now about 8 months old now, and still as sweet and cuddly as she was the day we brought her home. She would not mind being cuddled all day, and routinely sits in front of me and places one paw on my leg to ask for pets. Riley, on the other hand, is becoming a grumpy man in his old age. He's never fully bounced back from his bout with Lyme disease this past summer, and has a stiff lower back that gives him trouble. We've been working on his hip, leg, and back muscles and giving him a decent dose of fish oil each day, but it still worries me to no end. Despite his back, Riley still rules the roost and Fern follows him around like a big brother. Riley seems to enjoy her company as well, and I sometimes catch him resting his head on her back or snuggling his nose into her fluffy white belly when they take naps. It melts my heart :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Basement Remodel, Part 4

I finally have a few good images to show for all our work in the basement! (Here's what it looked like before) We've mudded, primed, and painted the walls, and are in the process of installing the wood plank ceiling after sanding, pretreating, and staining all the boards. Josh also installed recessed light fixtures in the hall and inside the den/office (shown above). Once the planks are all installed, we will add trim around the edge to cover the seams. A wood door for the electrical panel (shown below in its unfinished state) and a new frame and pane for the small window (now covered with insulation to keep the draft out) are also still in the works.

We found a nice pair of french doors at a flea market and are planning to use those between the bedroom and office/den. Before they can be installed we need to replace the hinges, clean the knob hardware, prime, and paint them. I have removed the hardware am now in the process of priming the first door as shown below. They look like a mess now, but once I clean up the primer smudged on the glass panes with a razor and get a coat of white paint on them I think they will be really nice.

And last but not least, we've finally decided what to do with the floor. We've gone back and forth between several ideas, including slate tile and bamboo floors, but have finally settled on polished concrete and nice area rugs. We both really like the look and natural color of polished, sealed concrete, and though we will have to hire someone to grind it down, in the end it will be much less work for us than tiling or laying down floor boards and less expensive to boot. I am hoping we can find a transparent treatment with just a hint of green in it. The floor polishers are scheduled to come in two weeks, so hopefully I will have some great "after" pics to share!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Punch Brothers!

Today we are headed to Northampton, MA to catch a Punch Brothers show and do a little thrifting over the weekend. For any bluegrass fans out there who have not yet discovered Chris Thile, I would urge you to check his group out. They have an amazingly unique sound and the musicianship is unreal.

I also recommend checking out the Goat Rodeo Sessions, a collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan, and Edgar Meyer. Below are two of my favorite pieces from that album, which took home two Grammys this past Sunday. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Self Watering Seed Starter Experiment Update

Back in December Josh built a self watering seed starter system. The system, which is hooked up to a water pump and grow lights on timers, was an experiment to see if we could start seeds in the basement with minimal work. Well people, it's working. The asparagus, mint, sage, thyme, and gogi berries have all come through and appear to be healthy. The only plant in question is the comfrey, which is still quite small and may need warmer temperatures to thrive. We'll plant the asparagus, mint, sage, and thyme in the kitchen garden this spring, while the gogi berries and comfrey will stay in the basement until they are mature enough to be moved outside. I have to hand it to Josh for a good idea well executed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Making Plans

Josh & I are bursting at the seams with ideas for projects around the property, but most have to wait until the weather gets warmer. From this spot in the dead of winter, it sometimes feels impossible to wait two more months to get started. I just can't wait to get outdoors again and get things done!

Maple Sugaring
We've counted at least 40 mature maple trees in the woods behind our house, more than enough to return a decent yield if tapped. We are newbies at sugaring, so Josh has been doing quite a bit of research. As we understand it, the sap will start flowing when the days are consistently above freezing, and the are nights below freezing. This should happen by the end of March, so we are stocking up on tubing, taps, buckets, and large pots to boil the sap in. 

Our Wedding
We've finally set a date/location. The wedding will be in late September at our house. Now we need to get the guest list nailed down. I am torn between wanting all our friends there on one hand, yet feeling like I need to keep it very small to protect my own sanity on the other. We have yet to figure out how to handle that, but I do have one detail nailed down -- a wonderful photographer.  If anyone out there is in the market for a wedding photographer check out Ray + Kelly Photography. Their work is emotional, beautiful, and real, and feels more like art photography than typical wedding photography to me.

The Kitchen Garden
Work on the kitchen garden halted when more pressing projects (finishing the Little Dog workshop & chopping cord wood for winter) took priority. Once the weather warms and the ground is soft enough to dig into, we will be back at work building the stone retaining wall and filling in the patch of earth next to our deck for a kitchen garden. When the soil is ready, we will plant lettuce, tomato, squash, cucumber, herbs, corn, radish, carrots, spinach, pumpkin, and other annual vegetables.

The Downstairs Porch
By the time April rolls around the basement remodeling (a bedroom, bathroom, and den/office) should be finished and we'll turn our attention to the porch off the bottom level. Right now it resembles a junk yard/dog kennel with unfinished concrete floors, chicken wire over open window frames, miscellaneous furniture, trash barrels, and an unused washer/dryer set. Yep, we're those people. Hopefully not for too much longer, though. I can't wait to tile the floor, add real windows, lots of plants, and a small table and chairs.

That's all for now. There are a number of other projects in the works, some small and probably not worth boring you with, and others still in the very early stages and not ready for sharing. I cannot wait to get going and finally have some great photos to share!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Waiting for Nemo

The forecast is calling for about a foot of snow in our area, but as of yet we've only seen light snow and about an inch of accumulation. I hear the worst of it is coming over night. Just in case, we stocked up at the grocery store last night and mounted the plow on the truck. Today we've busied ourselves inside watching bad TV online and testing stain shades for a new wood plank ceiling in the basement. The snow is fine with me, I just hope we don't loose power, which could mean frozen pipes. Stay warm & safe east coasters!

Snapshots from today:  The field  //  Miss Fern in the snow  //  View of our neighbor's house through the trees  //  Riley keeping watch from the safety of the deck :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The First Six Months

We've been at the new house almost six months now, so it seemed like a good time to take stock of where we're at.

I'd be lying if I said the whole thing has been magical, wonderful, and easy. Certainly, parts of it have felt that way, but the first few months of the transition were trying for me personally. Going into this adventure, I knew there was no way to know how it would feel until I was actually in it. Maybe it would be easy and a dream come true, or maybe I would freak out. I didn't know. Nonetheless, I still knew I wanted to do it. If I chickened out, my reasons were fear and self doubt, and I didn't respect those reasons. I'd been handed one of the most exciting and wonderful opportunities of my life, and I could not accept passing it over because of fear. 

So we moved to the country, and along with all the wonderful feelings of freedom, adventure, and  excitement, I experienced a bit of culture shock. I missed the energy of the city, my friends, my apartment, the convenience of Boston, and a million other little things. I started to miss things I didn't even know I had cared about. Out here we can go for days without seeing people, which is a very strange thing after living 10 years in a big city.

It's amazing how dependent our sense of security and well being is on familiarity. How many of us stay in jobs and relationships that are no longer good for us because the fear of change is so great? We know we need to move on, but even knowing this, change can be so jarring when it comes. And so during those first months Josh and I had late night discussions about what would happen if I couldn't hack it in the country. Then what would we do? Some days were really good, some were hard.

But despite all of this, I knew I wanted to keep doing it. I wanted to see how it would feel to move into and through the uncomfortable and sometimes painful emotions, and just let it all happen. Let it run its course. Instead of fighting and moving away from the feelings, just let them be there.

I don't know exactly when or how things changed -- months ago now -- but all of a sudden one week I realized I was fine. The new house didn't feel new anymore, it felt like home. The idea of living this way wasn't daunting or unknown, I knew it was doable for me, and I was so excited about all of the projects we had planned. Driving 45 minutes to get to a grocery store, a thought that once had me questioning why the heck I had chosen to live this way, was now an opportunity to hit up all the good thrifting spots on the way there. It is interesting to observe that, given a little time, the brain is very good at adapting. Sometimes it doesn't happen as fast as we would like, but one day you wake up and realize those fears, qualms, and doubts have passed on through. The new comfortable is the one you are living. Sometimes it takes a personal realization or the encouraging words of a friend, but often it just takes time. Fortunately for me, it didn't that too long. Maybe a couple months, which, considering the magnitude of the change I had made (new job, new state, new house, new fiance, leaving all my friends), is not too shabby.

It is unfortunate how many opportunities are missed because of fear of the unknown, fear of taking the leap. What if I don't like it? What if I fail? What if they don't like me? If anyone out there is considering making a change or pulling the trigger on following a dream, the point of this post is to encourage you to jump and embrace whatever happens. So many of us make big, scary changes only when we feel that every angle has been planned and the likelihood of failing minimized. Sometimes that works, but sometimes life goes another way. The moment life veers off your preplanned course is the most important spot. It's here where instead of bailing out, giving up, and going back to the old way, all that is needed is to let it be hard until it's easy. Don't distract yourself from feeling by keeping so busy you don't have time to be alone with yourself. Let the feelings come, but don't attach yourself to them. You will surprise yourself with how quickly they pass if you can just let it be.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vintage Olivetti Typewriter Posters

Olivetti Valentine Tyepwriter by Pukpuk

While browsing an old "inspiration images" folder on my computer, I came across an Olivetti typewriter poster that had me wanting to see more like it. A quick web search led me to the SFMOMA site. In 2010 SFMOMA had an Olivetti design exhibit, which showcased a number of vintage Olivetti posters designed by Giovanni Pintori. I am always impressed by companies who commit to simple, great design that allows the inherent coolness of a product sell itself, rather than falling back on fluffy, unoriginal marketing hype (Try an Olivetti today and see what a smooth keystroke can do for you!).

Below I've included a few of my favorites from the show. Enjoy!


Vintage poster images sourced from SFMOMA

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Little Dog's Thrifting Guide to Boston

I've received a number requests for Boston thrifting tips, so I decided to pull together a list of my favorite spots. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather a list of the places I have first hand experience with and consider to be worth checking out. I've included details about what to expect at each store, where to park or which train line to take, links to store locations on Google maps, and more. This list pulls together much of what I've learned over 10 years of thrifting in Boston, so hopefully it will be a useful resource for newcomers to Boston or those of you just getting into thrifting.

The list is broken into four categories: thrift stores, antique malls, flea markets, and upscale vintage.   
I'd Rather be Thrifting Poster by Ashleyg

Urban Renewals
122 Brighton Ave, Allston
(617) 783-8387 
Hours: Mon-Wed, Fri-Sat. 10-6, Thr. 10-8, Sun. 12-5
The scoop: One of my favorites. Like Goodwill Boston, this store is huge. Racks and racks of clothing organized by type and then color. A large room for furniture in the back and housewares all along the wall. I've had good luck with linens here as well. Huge selection of children's clothing. Cash only, but they have an ATM in the store. No dressing rooms, but lots of mirrors. Metered street parking out front, or take the Green Line train to Harvard Ave and walk a few blocks. The 57 bus also stops less than a block away. 

Goodwill Boston
1010 Harrison Avenue, Boston
(617) 541-1270
Hours: Mon-Fri. 9-7
Sat. 9-6:30
Sun. Noon-6
The scoop: This is the largest Goodwill in Boston -- the flagship store, if you will -- roughly the size of a supermarket. TONS of clothes and a large selection of housewares, books, and some furniture in the back. If you're driving you'll enjoy the large parking lot out front. For those taking public transportation, the SL4 and SL5 buses stop one block away, or the Ruggles stop on the Orange Line train is about a 15 minute walk from the store.

Goodwill Boston Outlet Store
1010 Harrison Avenue, Boston
(617) 541-1225
Hours: Mon-Sat. 9-5
Closed Sun.
The scoop: This store is actually right next to Goodwill Boston at 1010 Harrison Ave, and has even deeper discounts, but be prepared to rummage through bins. Lots of books, clothing, and shoes. Cash only. Pay attention to the hours, as they are different from Goodwill Boston.

Goodwill Allston/Brighton
965 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
(617) 254-0112
Hours: Mon-Sat. 10-8
Sun. Noon-6
The scoop: A smaller Goodwill, and yet I've had good luck here. My theory is that the wealthy folks down the street in Brookline make their donations at this store. Metered parking out front on Commonwealth Ave. is sometimes hard to come by, but the Pleasant St. stop on the Green Line train is directly in front of the store. Some furniture, but not much. Heads up: some of the nicer items are separated in a "boutique" section at the front of the store and marked up a bit.

Goodwill Somerville
230 Elm Street, Somerville (Davis Square)
(617) 628-3618
Hours: Mon-Sat. 10-7
Sun. Noon-6
The scoop: A large store with a separate downstairs for housewares, books, and furniture. It's been a bit picked over lately, but sometimes I'll strike gold, so you never know. Metered parking out front, and the Davis Square stop on the Red Line is a few blocks away. There are a few other funky vintage shops in Davis Square as well as some consignment clothing shops on the same block so you can make an afternoon of it. Check out Artifaktori while you're there and stop at Diesel Cafe for lunch.

Goodwill Cambridge
520 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge (Central Square)
(617) 868-6330
Hours: Mon-Sat. 10-7
Sun. Noon-6
The scoop: This is a small store, and probably less organized and more dingy than others, but it is packed to the gills. A few racks for housewares in the back. Don't bother going here if you're looking for furniture. They get the occasional side table or chair, but not much else. There's a slightly higher end thrift store across the street called Boomerangs, which is worth checking out. Street parking available or get off the Red Line at Central Square and walk one block. Buses: Massachusetts Ave @ Pearl St (1, 47, 64, 70, 70A, CT1), Green St @ Pearl St (47, 64, 70, 70A), Pearl St @ Franklin St (47)

The Garment District
200 Broadway, Cambridge 
(617) 876-5230
Hours: Sun - Thr 11-8, Fri. 11-6, Sat. 9-8
The Scoop: A large industrial space with "dollar a pound" clothing on the first floor and a more curated selection of vintage and used clothing upstairs. Lots of dressing rooms. A small selection of linens, but no housewares. The first floor also has a costume shop and around Halloween the store is a zoo. Park on the street or take the Red Line train to Kendall/MIT and walk 8 minutes up Broadway. The CT2 bus also stops a block away.

Boomerangs Central Square
563 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge
(617) 758-6128
Hours: Mon-Sat. 11-8 
The Scoop: Like Boomerangs JP, this store is curated for cool stuff and the prices are slightly higher than what you will find at Goodwill. Furniture and books at the front of the store. A small selection of housewares, and lots of clothes. This store is not as large as Boomerangs JP, but there are treasures to be found. Park on the street or take the Red Line to Central Square and walk one block. Buses: Massachusetts Ave @ Pearl St (1, 47, 64, 70, 70A, CT1), Green St @ Pearl St (47, 64, 70, 70A), Pearl St @ Franklin St (47)
Goodwill JP

678 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain
(617) 522-1415
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-8:00
Sun. Noon to 6
The scoop: Another smallish store, but often worth the trip. No furniture here. Shelves for housewares in the back. Right down the street from Boomerangs JP, which is a great thrift store, so hit up both spots. Street parking on Centre Street or take the Orange Line to Green Street and walk 8 minutes. Buses: Center St @ Seaverns Ave (192, 35, 38, 39, 41, 48), Centre St @ Burroughs St (192, 35, 39, 41, 48), Centre St @ Myrtle St (192, 35, 39, 41, 48).

Boomerangs JP
716 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain
(617) 524-5120
Hours: Mon-Wed, Fri-Sat. 10-7, Thr. 10-8, Sun. 11-6
The scoop: Boomerangs is curated for cool stuff, but the prices are still very reasonable. Lots of great vintage clothes and decent amount of furniture and housewares in the back and lots of books. See parking/train instructions from the Goodwill JP listing. Street parking on Centre Street or take the Orange Line to Green Street and walk 8 minutes. Buses: Centre St @ Seaverns Ave (192, 35, 38, 39, 41, 48), Centre St @ Burroughs St (192, 35, 39, 41, 48), Centre St @ Myrtle St (192, 35, 39, 41, 48).

*Note: I hear the vintage clothing shop 40 South Street in JP is also good, but I have never been. Check it out and let me know!
Cambridge Antique Market
201 Monsignor O'Brien Hwy, Cambridge
(617) 868-9655 
Hours: Tue - Sun. 11-6
The Scoop: Five stories of dealer spaces. This place is so packed you could spend the entire day and not see everything. Prices range from high end antique store rates to thrift store prices. Lots of dealers run sales, so good deals are possible. Great jewelry in cases on the first floor. Mostly furniture in the basement. They also have framing and bike repair shops in the basement. The staff is super friendly and helpful. A few dealers selling vintage clothing, but mostly housewares, art, and furniture in this mall. The store has its own parking lot, or take the Green Line train to Lechmere and walk 1 block. Buses: O'brien Hwy @ Winter St (80, 87, 88), 225 Msgr O'brien Hwy (80, 87, 88), Cambridge St @ Third St (69, 80, 87, 88).
730 Eastern Ave, Malden
(781) 388-9878
Hours: Thr - Fri. 10-5, Sat - Sun. 9-5
The Scoop: This store has moved locations since I last visited, but they ran a fairly large business and I am assuming things are still up to snuff at the new location. Lots of furniture and smalls in dealer spaces. This store also runs several live auctions each month, and offers appraisals. Occasionally they hold "flea markets" upstairs with bargain prices. Park in the lot at the store, or there are a number of buses that stop nearby.

283 Main Street, Rowley
Sundays March - November
The Scoop: Up to 240 vendors selling their wares every Sunday 45 minutes north of Boston. 98% of the vendors are selling true antiques and vintage, and there are AMAZING finds to be had if you get there early. By noon some of the vendors are already packing up. Feel free to bargain, and bring lots of cash and comfortable walking shoes. There are a few food carts and a small indoor food counter with homemade pastries, including the best chocolate glazed donut I have ever had. Tons of furniture, housewares, and clothing, and even a little architectural salvage. Free parking in the field next to the market. This market is definitely worth the drive, but skip the trip if it's raining. The market is technically open when it rains, but very few vendors show up.
23 Main Street, Brimfield
2013 show dates: May 14-19, July 9-14, September 3-8
The Scoop: This is the mother of all flea markets on the east coast. The show runs along Rt. 20 in Brimfield, MA for a distance of half-mile and 500' or more back on each side of the highway. Thousands of dealers pass through over the course of the week, selling everything from  fine antiques to yard junk. Lots of food courts and portable bathrooms. Brimfield is really something to see, and I highly recommend it for all vintage lovers. Bring cash, comfortable shoes, and sunblock. You'll have to drive to get to this show, no trains or buses in the area that I know of.

SOWA Vintage Market
460C Harrison Ave, Boston
Hours: Sundays 10-4 year round
The Scoop: The selection at this vintage market is highly curated and the prices are high, but you can walk away with good stuff if you're willing to pay the price. The market is held in a great industrial space, across the way from a number of art galleries, boutique shops, and best of all the famous Bobby from Boston store.

Top Shelf Flea Market
George Dilboy VFW Post 529, 371 Summer Street, Somerville
3-4 x/yearly
The Scoop: A small market in one room of a VFW post. Booths are highly curated and prices are higher than your larger outdoor flea market. Lots of great vintage clothing for men and women. The bar in the back of the hall is open during markets, so enjoy a beer while you browse. Favorite vendors at this market are Bobby from Boston and Newton Street Vintage for impeccable vintage menswear. Take the Red Line train to Davis Square or park in the lot behind the building.

Bobby From Boston
19 Thayer Street in Boston's South End 
(617) 423-9299
Hours: Tues - Sun. 12-6
The Scoop: Bobby's is run by a veteran dealer who specializes in supplying wardrobe for period films, and is considered by many to be the best vintage menswear store on the east coast. The focus is 1940s through '70s menswear, but the store does have some women's pieces, and more than that it's really something to see. Stepping into Bobby's is like stepping back in time. From the store display furniture, to the clothing and accessories, this store is curated to perfection. Here is a nice review from the Alex Grant blog. Do yourself a favor and check out this gem.

Artifaktori  (2 locations)
Davis Square
22 College Ave, Somerville
(617) 776-3708
Hours: Wed - Fri. 12-7, Sat & Sun. 12-6

Beacon Hill
121 Charles Street, Boston
(617) 367-5854
Hours: Wed - Fri. 11-7, Sat & Sun. 11-6
The Scoop: Artifaktori specializes in vintage women's clothing and accessories, with a smaller selection of menswear. Both stores are small, but beautifully curated, and the prices are reasonable. The Davis Square store also carries some kitschy housewares and the occasional piece of furniture. Park on the street or take the Red Line train to Davis Square for the Somerville store. Park on the street (good luck) or take the Red Line train to Charles/MGH and walk a block for the Beacon Hill store. Tip: Charles Street in Beacon Hill has some of the nicest high end antique shops in Boston, worth perusing. Make a day of it, and try the Paramount Cafe for lunch.

1731 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge
(617) 497-0137
Hours: Mon-Sat. 10-6, Sun 12-5
The Scoop: High end Danish modern and mid century furniture in pristine condition with prices to match.  Hanging lights, teak credenzas, and Eames chairs abound. A few smaller items like clocks and pottery as well. A beautiful store worth checking out, if only for inspiration. Take the Red Line to Porter Square or Harvard Square and walk about 5-10 minutes. Bus: Massachusetts Ave Opp Garfield St (77, 96), Massachusetts Ave @ Garfield St (77, 83, 96), Massachusetts Ave @ Forest St (77, 83, 96).

Brattle Book Shop
9 West Street, Boston
(617) 542-0210
Hours: Mon-Sat. 9-5:30
The Scoop: Amazing used book store. Everything from rare and expensive first editions on the 3rd floor to a "bargain book alley" in the alley next to the building with $1, $3, and $5 books on rolling carts. Thousands of amazing vintage books inside at reasonable prices and they get new books in constantly. Take the Red, Green, or Orange Line to Downtown Crossing and walk 2 blocks or the SL5 to Downtown and walk 1 block. Parking is tough in this area. You'll pay $15 for a garage and there is no street parking.

Twentieth Century Ltd
73 Charles Street, Boston
(617) 742-1031
Hours: Mon - Sat. 11 - 6, Sun 12-5
The Scoop: A tiny garden level shop on Charles Street PACKED with amazing vintage jewelry from all periods. They have everything from costume jewelry to diamond rings, and the knowledge to price and sell both. They also carry a small selection of hats, clocks, paintings, old photographs, and other odds and ends. Park on the street (good luck), pay $15-25 for a lot nearby, or take the Red Line train to Charles/MGH or Park Street and walk.

  • Sign up on to receive lists of estate sales with photos via email
  • Check regularly for yard sales 
  • Sign up on to receive lists of yard sales via email
  • Talk to vendors at flea markets to find out other markets they sell at 
  • If using public transportation, try out the MBTA's trip planner feature for door to door instructions using the best combination of the train, bus, rail, and walking. 
Know of a great thrifting spot I missed? Leave it in the comments!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

M.OSS design

Last week I discovered M.OSS design, a Dutch lamp company owned and operated by the talented Marcel Ossendrijver. Marcel designs and builds every lamp in his shop, and his pieces boast clean, architectural lines and spot-on color palettes. He uses solid beech wood to construct his lamp bases, and the shades are ceramic, hand cast in molds and painted by Marcel in his light filled studio.

After a few days of admiring Marcel's work, I decided to find out if he would be interested in sharing his creative process and the story behind his shop. He graciously accepted, and below I'm happy to share our interview:

Little Dog: Tell me about how you came to start M.OSS design.

Marcel: I started making disco lamps when I was 13. I was always creative and fascinated with wood. I started making the wood and ceramic lamps about a year ago, and received so many positive comments that I decided to start M.OSS design.  

Little Dog: What is your design process like? How long does it take you to perfect each piece?

Marcel: I start by making the lampshades from clay in a mold, then let them dry for a few days. Next I make the bases from solid beech wood. Electricity is the last step. Every lamp is handmade and slightly different.

Little Dog: I love your shade colors. How did you come up with your palette?

Marcel: The shades are hand painted and finished with eggshell. I use the Farrow & Ball paint collection.

Little Dog: How long does it take you to make each lamp?

Marcel: 3-4 hours

Little Dog: What artists/eras/design inspire you?

Marcel:  I love Scandinavian design from the early 50s through today. I love Muuto and Hay.

Little Dog: Where can people purchase your lamps?

Marcel: I have an Etsy shop and I sell in a few stores in the Netherlands and Belgium, with more coming soon. I'll be working on the American market in the future.

Thank you Marcel!

For more on Marcel, check out his Etsy shop or visit the M.OSS design Facebook page.


Photos by Marlou Fotographie