December 19, 2006

Six days and counting...

Is Christmas really less than a week away?? Let's make something with Christmas cards today, shall we? I just love how there is an entire magazine dedicated to Christmas card crafts! Of course I especially liked the bird house, which is the one I'll be making with my cards this year. Happy crafting!

December 13, 2006

This Just In

Talking Painting by J. Richel

Vintage Paint by Number Postcard

Test Print Journal

One reason we opened the Curiosity Shoppe was so we could find and sell interesting, one-of-a-kind objects and pieces of art. Little did we realize what an incredible amount of work it is to keep an online store stocked with one-of-a-kind objects! Fortunately, the artists and designers we work with are great about sending us new stuff whenever we ask for it. But then it's up to us to photograph and write all the descriptions... we can hardly keep up!

I'm so excited about the most recent shipments of Talking Paintings and Vintage Paint by Number Postcards that we just posted in the Gallery, and Test Print Blank Journals from Hammerpress that are for sale in the Office. Such great stuff!

December 07, 2006


Just a quick Hello as a take a short break from my packing and shipping duties over here at the Curiosity Shoppe- you holiday shoppers are keeping us busy!!

As Christmas gets closer and closer and I realize that I haven't started making any of my holiday gifts yet, I've been thinking about my favorite craft materials and coming up with ideas that I'll hopefully have time to work on in the next couple weeks! Among my favorites of course is rickrack, and I just love these rickrack candy canes, wreaths and pointsettias from an old issue of Martha that I had saved.

Fingers crossed that some of you will be getting something just as lovingly handcrafted by me under your Christmas trees this year- wish me luck!

December 01, 2006

Hedgehog Mania!

I have hedgehogs on the brain today! I was packing up some of the hedgehog point markers we have for sale in the shoppe and that got me thinking about all the adorable pictures I've seen online recently of peoples' pet hedgehogs. Don't even get Derek started on pet hedgehogs... he's been wanting one ever since he found out that they can be trained to use the litter box! Cute as they are, I just can't imagine our 2 kitties ever getting used to having a little hedgehog roaming around the apartment. He'll just have to settle with the yarn and felt hedgehog I made (pictured here enjoying a nice sunny day out on the lawn) and the magnetic hedgehog paper clip holder that sits on our desk. (Hedgehog photos courtesy of

November 28, 2006

That time of year. Finally!!!

With Thanksgiving almost a week behind us, I think it's safe to start busting out the holiday music around here. Which is exciting because I'm a big fan of holiday music, though isn't it funny how offensive it sounds in, say, June? And that's a shame because one of my all-time favorite albums is a holiday album and I'd love to be able to listen to it year round. But I just can't. It doesn't feel right. The album I'm talking about is (of course!) "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.
If you haven't heard it...Ha! what am I saying, of course you've heard it. Well, if you don't OWN it, please stop reading and get on over to iTunes and buy it. Every single song on it is fantastically good: O Tannenbaum, Christmas Time Is Here (both instrumental AND vocal!), My Little Drum, and of course everyone's favorite classic Linus & Lucy, oh, and Skating!! Can't forget Skating. Unbelievable!! If I was more tech savvy, or less lazy I would have clickable streaming mp3 jobbies here for all these songs. Sorry. Maybe L's mom can hook me up. She has mad blog skills.
Anyway, the good news/actual point of this post is that Vince Guaraldi was more than just the guy who most perfectly scored the television specials of one of the greatest comics in our nations history. He also put out a bunch of other really great albums that AREN'T icons of any particular holiday (that I'm aware of) and thus may be listened to any day of the year (except December 25th). So while you're out there picking up "A Charlie Brown Christmas" also check out some of his other albums which are also very excellent and deserving of our attention. Including "Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus" inspired by the 1959 French/Poruguese film Black Orpheus.

Also check out the official Vince Guaraldi website.

November 27, 2006

Marci Washington

Thanks to Kate for sending us the link to artist Marci Washington's lovely website. Her paintings are right up our alley, and I couldn't decide which piece to post here so I'm posting 5 of them! I'm especially loving the black backgrounds on these.

She currently has work in 2 local shows, so if you're in the Bay Area, be sure to check it out!

November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hope you all have a wonderful day!
-Lauren & Derek

November 22, 2006

Coming up for air

Round One of our outgoing orders from yesterday!

For those of you who don't already know, we were blessed with a PR miracle yesterday when the Curiosity Shoppe was mentioned on DailyCandy, Design Sponge and USA Today online! As a result, next time you visit the shoppe, you'll probably notice that a good chunk of our inventory is now out of stock, but rest assured, we're already on the phone with our vendors trying to get restocked before the holidays. We appreciate your patience and already have waiting lists going for lots of our items, so if you see anything on the site that you can't live without, drop us a line and we'll let you know when it comes in! When it rains, it pours!!

This just in! While you're at it, check us out on these links too: Decor8 & Apartment Therapy SF.

November 21, 2006

Check us out!!

We were so excited when the new issue of ReadyMade arrived in our mailbox yesterday, with our gift guide contribution right there on the cover!! Derek came up with the great idea of making days of the week neckties, complete with an animal icon to represent each day of the week. (My favorite, after Monday's rooster tie, is the camel on Wednesday's "hump day" tie. Genius!)

One of the best things about being included in this gift guide is the awesome company we are in: along with the girls from Stitch Lounge, the folks from Poketo Jenny Hart from Sublime Stitching, Lena Corwin Lotta Jansdotter... the list goes on and on.
Please pick up an issue of ReadyMade to read the how-to, and visit: to download the art.

November 20, 2006

Hurray for days off!

Shepherd's Pie, Maple Cookies, and Happy Cats

Without really meaning to, we've been working 7 days a week now for quite some time. When you're in charge of running your own business, there always seems to be an endless list of things to do! But we finally decided to take a day off yesterday and actually stay home–a dreamy concept that turned out to be a pretty great thing.

We were able to play with our 2 adorable kitties, who (due to the fact that we're never home? Can't be!) in the past couple weeks have both gotten sick AND gotten fleas, but now seem to be better thanks to new food and those magical flea-killing drops from the pet store.

We also read the newspaper, cleaned our apartment, cooked comfort food, baked cookies, listened to oldies on the radio, and Derek even managed to sneak in a nap!

A delightful day indeed. Now, back to work!

November 17, 2006


Sorry to be repetitive, but I wanted to share our fun adventure last night and it just so happens to involve a bunch of great people and places that have already been mentioned here before. Oh well...lucky us.

Last night we headed across a fog enshrouded Golden Gate bridge to visit the Headlands Center for the Arts. I'd never been there "after hours", and I'm happy to report it's as enchanting and wonderful at night as it is in the daytime. Actually I found it even more inviting in all its silent pitch black foggy splendor (even though I was keeping an eye out for ghosts the whole time).

The reason for our visit was a talk given by one of our all-time favorite artists Thomas Campbell. We all sat around on benches and bleachers while he clicked through a slide show of images of all sorts of fun stuff: pictures of him skateboarding as a kid, photos he's taken throughout the years, his garage studio in Santa Cruz, friends, his friends' art, bands he loves (and/or records), his new work in bronze, and tons of images from his recent show at the Museum het Domein in Holland. He also showed some brief clips of his films (the surf documentary Sprout, see trailer below) and a short that he shot with Bonnie Prince Billy that's an homage of sorts to the late, great John Denver. After the slideshow we all headed up to his studio and got to check out a bunch of stuff he's currently working on. The whole event was so casual and mellow and comfy, and most importantly INSPIRATIONAL. What a treat!!

Here are some links to check out:
A Fecal Face mention of his recent show at Roberts and Tilton in LA.

Thomas's record label Galaxia, which produces records by the amazing Peggy Honeywell and Tommy Guerrero, among others.

The catalog for the sensational show his work is featured in called Beautiful Losers.

November 14, 2006

Making & Selling

One of the joys of running The Curiosity Shoppe is seeking out new handmade items to sell. Something else we'd like to start doing more of is making our own crafty items to put on the site.

Making things by hand in large quantities is truly a labor of love, and quite a different experience from making unique, one-of-a-kind items, as most crafters tend to do. But wouldn't you much rather spend your day crafting than sitting in front of a computer? Last week I finally shipped out 2 big boxes of crocheted cupcake pincushions that will soon be for sale at one of our fave websites, And I spent some time yesterday afternoon replenishing our stock of Vintage Matchbook Notepads that are already for sale in the shoppe. We found lots of great matchbooks recently, and I just love using my perforating tool to make the tear-out pages. Fun!

November 12, 2006

Get Together! Opening

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us Friday for the grand (oh, it certainly was grand!) opening of the Hardware Store gallery's new show, Get Together! And a huge special thanks to Susan O'Malley and all the fantastically talented artists whose amazing work is featured in the show: Keri Oldham, Sean McFarland, Lindsay White, Ashley Neese, Sarah Applebaum, Alex Clausen, and Jonn Herschend. If you're in the Bay Area, please swing by and check out the show. Here are a few shots from the opening, we'll post more (where you can actually see the work) at the Guild website soon.

November 10, 2006

Someone please help this deer!

"Plastic jack-o'-lantern threatens deer's life". I just saw this CNN headline on my homepage when I turned on my computer, and I had to read more about it. Turns out, this poor deer in Michigan got a plastic jack-o'-lantern stuck over its mouth and hasn't been able to eat or drink for days! Not to mention, hunting season starts next week and running around with a bright orange pumpkin stuck to your muzzle isn't the best plan for a little deer. No one has been able to get close enough to help remove it, and they'll have to tranquilize the poor thing soon if he can't get it off on his own. So sad!

November 09, 2006

Honing my skills

Now that we finally have a few good kitchen knives in our collection, I really need to overcome my phobia of sharpening them. My first question is: Do I try to do it myself or bring them to a knife sharpener? The idea of carrying a bunch of knives down the street to the local butcher for knife sharpening day makes me a bit nervous, but I've also been scared to sharpen them at home. (Fear of cutting myself, fear of ruining my knives...)

My second question is: If I choose to do it myself, what type of sharpener should I use? A whetstone? A sharpening steel? A couple years ago I bought a cheap little handheld knife sharpener at the Broadway Panhandler, which I half-heartedly tried to use a couple times, but with no noticeable results.

Imagine my surprise the other day when I was flipping through the new issue of Cook's Illustrated, and saw the very same sharpener at the top of their equipment ratings chart! So I gave it another try, this time dragging the sharpener over the blade 20 times as directed, instead of the half dozen or so times that I had done it before. Now I've got a drawer full of extra sharp knives, and I've been slicing and dicing with ease ever since!

Recommended product of the day: the Accusharp Knife & Tool sharpener.

November 08, 2006

Great Art Show

Last weekend we were fortunate enough to make it over to the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek for the last day of their most recent show, "Embroidered Stories, Knitted Tales". As I'm sure you've realized by now, we are big fans of the yarn arts, and this show featured 38 artists who are doing amazing knitted, crocheted and embroidered works on wood, fabric, paper, and just about anything you can imagine.

I left with a long list of names to look up on the internet when I got home, and here is a small selection of some of the artists' work that we really loved. Enjoy!

Tree sweaters by Elaine Bradford (she also did the deer head in the image above).

Mended target by Lisa Solomon.

Knitted superhero costumes by Mark Newport

Embroidered pill bottle by Leah Markov-Lindsey

Crocheted food by Joy Kampia.

November 03, 2006

Burn, Baby, Burn!!!!

In addition to the other fun crafts we indulged in at our Dia De Los Muertos/Halloween party last weekend (see post below), we also made a Flaming-Eyed Ghost Cake. We got the recipe and inspiration from our favorite new book "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence" by the lovely Amy Sedaris. Check out the video (Thanks Josh!). The cake was a real crowd-pleaser, and oh-so-delicious! And the book is beyond great. Next up for us: "Jerri's Hot Fruit". Sounds scrumptuous!!! (No recipe for Glint, unfortunately....)

November 02, 2006

Sugar Skulls, Phase 2

Thanks to everyone who came to our Dia de Los Muertos party last weekend! Here are some of the beautifully decorated sugar skulls. We were so impressed with everyone's handiwork with the icing and sequins! In addition to these sugary crafts, we also made tissue paper marigolds and ghosts, carved jack o' lanterns, and ate a ton of great food prepared by our good friends and co-party coordinators Doug & Carrie. (Special prize goes to Carrie for keeping her cool after cutting her finger on a can of pumpkin and making it back to the party on time after getting it all doctored up.)

For those of you in SF, don't miss out on the Day of the Dead procession, taking place this evening in the Mission. More info @

November 01, 2006

Cool, Cooler, Koolest!

With Day of the Dead coming up and all, I thought I'd take a brief moment to honor a woman I never met, and hadn't even heard of until I saw her obit in the Times this weekend. First of all, Petra Cabot lived 99 years. Good for her. That's hard-core living. Secondly, she was an artist, and I respect that. Thirdly (and most famously) she was the proud inventor of the Skotch Kooler, "the best-looking bucket anybody ever saw," as she put it. And she's right. It's a beautiful piece of work. And handy too, capable of toting around 4 gallons of your favorite liquid, and so well insulated it could keep ice cream frozen for 2 to 3 hours without ice! Petra's design first hit the market in 1952 and though there have been some technological advances in the last half-century no one has even come close to imagining a cooler kooler. You can still find these beauties at flea markets and on ebay, but make sure it's got her signature on it, otherwise it's just some shoddy knockoff. And (surprise, surprise) it just so happens that Petra worked with another personal hero of mine, Russel Wright, one of the key players in bringing modernism to the American masses back in the day. Our friends John & Conn recently visited Wright's house in upstate New York, check out their awesome blog Cuckoo for Coconuts for some dazzling pictures of the house and surrounding woods.

Tomorrow's Lunch Menu

Treasure Chest Tuna Sandwiches! How can I resist? (Though I may leave out the "pineapple tidbits" that are in the recipe.) I found this ad while flipping through an old Sunset Magazine we picked up at the flea market a couple weeks ago, circa 1955.

October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I posted this photo especially for John, who requested "more kid pictures!" Here I am at age 3, obviously quite proud of my trick-or-treating bonanza and about to devour this entire mountain of candy.

October 27, 2006

Nature Lovers Unite!

Here are some images from the November issue of National Geographic, which just arrived in our mailbox yesterday. As always, it is full of the most beautiful nature photography around. These two photos are of some white mushrooms from Ecuador and a leafy seadragon (cousin of the seahorse) found in Australia.

Every time I flip through an issue of National Geographic, three things are bound to happen:
1) I will read about something that sprains my brain (someone found some 3-million year old bones and was able to deduce that the first ever human beings looked like this?!?)
2) I will come across an amazing picture of a plant or a creature that I swear is the most beautiful and strange thing I have ever seen (see above).
3) I will slam the magazine shut after stumbling across a vivid, frightening photo of a lion eating a gazelle, a seal hunting a penguin, or any number of bloody events that occur in nature everyday.
Exciting stuff!

October 24, 2006

Sugar Skulls, Phase 1

We're planning a Day of the Dead/Halloween party with our friends Doug & Carrie for this weekend, and of course there are going to be crafts galore, including sugar skull decorating! So far we've made 13 of them, and look how cool they are! I'm excited to see how they look once everyone has decorated them with sequins and icing, but I have to say I kind of like the way they look pre-decoration too. Spooky and sweet, our favorite combo. We hope to see all of you Bay Area Guild members there on Sunday!

October 20, 2006

Seal of Approval

A few months ago, we introduced Lauren's mom to the wacky world of blogs. It seems that in doing so, we've created a monster. Luckily, it's a super-creative, interesting, fun, artsy-craftsy kind of monster. So the other day I was checking out her blog, and she had a great link to a site where you can customize your own seal (see above). I've always been curious about all sorts of heraldry, crests, and official-type ornamentation. And I'm still a sucker for patches and badges. Perhaps part of me wishes I had stuck it out in the Boy Scouts. Can you imagine what an awesome collection I'd have now...

October 17, 2006

Arts & Crafts Extravaganza!

Phew! What a weekend!
We already mentioned that we opened our Shoppe, but we also managed to squeeze in some great arts & crafts in our spare time.

Arts: On Sunday we ventured out to the Headlands Center for the Arts to check out their Fall Open Studios. As always, we were in complete awe of the place. Such a gorgeous location, so peaceful, simple, and inspirational, the whole place has the look and feel of an Andrew Wyeth painting. It's 15 minutes (and a world away) from the Golden Gate Bridge. The Center offers residencies and studio space to both emerging and established artists and is located in and around a cluster of decommissioned military barracks and facilities. We were particularly excited to visit Alex Clausen, one of the artists whose work will be appearing in our next show at the Hardware Store gallery. (more about that later...)

Crafts: Then we headed over to the Craft Gym for a party celebrating the launch of Craft magazine. It was perfect for us since we've been looking forward to checking out both the Gym and the magazine. The Gym looks like a ton of fun, they've got a great space and they offer lots of cool classes for all sorts of DIY-ing. The magazine looks fantastic too. It's beautifully produced, nice and thick, and since it's from the folks who brought us MAKE, we weren't surprised to find it filled with lots of crafty, smart projects. Some of the more ambitious ones remind me of the early days of the DIY movement when "Doing It Yourself" was less about making a wallet out of duct tape, and more about laying the foundation for your house. Luckily they've got a range of projects for all interests and skill levels. We were excited to see stories about some of the fun stuffed we've obsessed over here like crocheting chaos, loco gocco-ing, and the beaded wonderlands of Liza Lou.