December 19, 2007

We Made a Movie!

For today's DIY Wednesday post over at Design*Sponge, we decided to whip up a little movie. It was delicious fun to make. Hope you enjoy it!

December 14, 2007

Look Who's Here!

Yay! Crispin Hellion Glover is in town! He'll be screening his new film "It is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE." at the gorgeous Castro theater for the next 3 evenings. Each screening will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing. Oh boy, what a treat! We love that freekin' guy! Check out this great clip from one of our many, many, many favorite Crispin films, "Rubin and Ed". And yes, when we were in college we named our cat Simon, after the cat starring in the clip above. And yes, he too could eat a WHOLE WATERMELON!

December 08, 2007

Calling all crafters!

Check out this clip on You Tube! Yep, that's our friend Todd here in the Shoppe, asking you to send in clips of your favorite holiday crafts and DIY decor. He'll pick his favorites and they'll be posted on the You Tube homepage, so set up your video cameras and start crafting!!

December 05, 2007

Blink and you'll miss it, but....

How to be rustic chic at home
How to be rustic chic at home

We were on The Today Show this morning during their "Rustic Chic" roundup! Well, we weren't actually on the show, but they did mention our porcelain mushrooms, and logvases. Hooray!
(Warning: Don't be scared off by the crazy commercial intro....)

November 28, 2007

Art opening next Friday night!

Please join us at the Shoppe next Friday evening as we celebrate the opening of "The Small Stakes: A Year in Posters". We are huge fans of Jason Munn's work, and can't wait to see his lovely posters hanging in the gallery!

The Small Stakes: A Year in Posters
Opening Reception- Friday, December 7th, 6-9pm.
At The Curiosity Shoppe, 855 Valencia Street in San Francisco

Hope to see you there!

It's that time of year again....

Here are SOME of the boxes we shipped out yesterday- people aren't joking around with their holiday shopping! Please bear with us as we try our hardest to keep merchandise in stock and update the website, and thank you for shopping!

November 25, 2007

Love this painting

This is the image I have set on my computer desktop- it's a painting by Charley Harper, but I'm not sure of the title or the year. When we were going through his archive a few years ago I fell in love with it, and it's still one of my favorites. Just wanted to share it with everyone!

November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving? Yes, Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope you are all having a nice, relaxing holiday weekend! We haven't had a day off since who knows when, so we promised ourselves one full day of sleeping in and staying in our pajamas watching movies. Well, our plans were foiled when we were woken up by a phone call from our alarm company at 6 am...

It turns out we had an attempted robbery at the Shoppe yesterday morning. Grrrrrrr!!! Someone smashed in our transom window but didn't make it into the store before the alarm went off, which is something to be thankful for indeed. After the police and friendly CSI: San Francisco dude had left, we patched up the window with cardboard and ventured out to pick up a Thanksgiving feast-to-go at Pete's BBQ around the corner. Then it was back home, and back into our pjs for our much-needed movie marathon. Phew!

November 16, 2007

The Best Towel Ever?!

Cindy Sherman towel available at Target. With some of the proceeds going to support the "Art Production Fund's (APF) Mission to Introduce Contemporary Art to a Larger Community and to Help Fund Additional Major Civic Artwork Projects." Also available:
Kehinde Wiley, Elizabeth Peyton, and Jeff Koons. If you head over to the APF website, it looks like there's an Alex Katz towel as well.

November 14, 2007

Accordion Hero?

I'm not normally a big video game fan, but ever since we got Guitar Hero a couple months ago, Derek and I have been spending quite a few late nights rocking out with our toy guitars in front of the TV.

When Derek showed me this post on "Accordion Hero" that he saw on the Make Blog last week, it cracked me up! If only it truly existed.... it would be the ultimate addition to our growing collection of plastic instruments.

November 10, 2007


We recently subscribed to and received our first installment of a quarterly art subscription called THE THING, a brilliant periodical conceived and organized by artists/editors Jonn Herschend (who also happens to be a friend of ours and had a piece in the Get Together show we hosted at the Hardware Store Gallery last year) and Will Rogan.

Issue #1 was a silkscreened window shade (pictured above, in our dining room) by Miranda July, and issue #2, by artist Anne Walsh will be shipping this week! We can hardly wait.

You can read more about THE THING here, and get your own subscription here.

November 07, 2007

Yay! We're in the newspaper!

The San Francisco Chronicle has a wonderful article by Ahn-Mihn Le all about local shops that show art. We're honored and thrilled to be featured along with some of our other favorite small businesses: Park Life, Rare Device, Candy Store, Rose & Radish, Doe and Relish At Home. Check out the article here, or better yet, go out and buy a paper so you can cut out the HUGE picture of Shawn Creeden's bat installation in the Shoppe. Or EVEN BETTER YET, come to the Shoppe and see the show in person! For our out-of-towner friends, we've posted Shawn's amazing work on our website.

November 02, 2007

Try A Little Tenderness

Earlier today in the shoppe we blasted "Try a Little Tenderness" and had fun reminiscing about this scene from Pretty in Pink- one of our favorite movie moments of all time. Enjoy!

October 29, 2007

Serge Gainsbourg article in Vanity Fair

Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg on the set of the movie Slogan, June 1968. By Gilles Caron/Contact Press Images.

I have been loving the most recent issue of Vanity Fair! It must be a music-themed issue, because there is an article about Syd Barrett, an excerpt from Eric Clapton's new book, an Annie Leibowitz photo essay about folk singers, and a great article about Serge Gainsbourg, which you can read in its entirety here. In addition to many photos of him (always smoking of course) there are photos of his Paris apartment, which has been basically sitting untouched since his death in 1991- cans of food in the cupboard, full ashtrays, the whole 9 yards. And the writer interviewed many of the amazing women in his life, including Jane Birkin, Anna Karina, Francoise Hardy and of course his daughter Charlotte ...basically every chic French woman in recent history.

Of course one of my favorite parts of the story is about a handbag... I knew that the Herm├Ęs Birkin bag was named after Jane Birkin, but I didn't know that she was known to carry a wicker basket as a purse. I think it's great how this woman who inspired the design of a highly coveted handbag with a price tag ranging from $7000 to $100,000 herself used a basket as a handbag. That's the best! (Read this Time Magazine article for more on the history of the Birkin bag.)

October 28, 2007

Bat art is online!

We finally posted images from Hollow Face, Hand Wing on our site! Click here to see Shawn Creeden's amazing bat paintings, embroideries and the limited edition woodblock print he created for the show (pictured above). We have been loving having all the bats hanging in our gallery space at the Shoppe!

October 16, 2007

The Birds and the Bees

We've had a little bit of an obsession with bees and bats recently, so I was super excited when I stopped in at the post office yesterday and saw these new pollination stamps. Also, after watching "Life in the Undergrowth" (see Derek's post below) I have a whole new appreciation for bugs, so these new stamps were right up my alley.

The design is pretty genius- according to the USPS website, "Artist Steve Buchanan created an intricate graphic scheme for the stamps that emphasizes the ecological relationship between pollinators and plants and also hints at the biodiversity necessary to ensure the future viability of that relationship. To that end, the four different stamps are arranged in two alternate blocks that fit together like interlocking puzzles. In one block the pollinators form a central starburst. In the other block, the flowers are arranged in the center." Pretty cool, right? And certainly more interesting than some of the other stamp choices out there. (The lady at the post office said she preferred the Disney stamps, and that these would have been her "last choice", but I may have to disagree on that one!)

October 13, 2007

Art Appreciation

The cool kids over at Fecal Face have posted a nice interview with one of our favorite artists ever, Mr. Jim Houser. Check it out, it includes lots of fun pictures of his magnificent work.


We recently rented one of Sir David Attenborough's nature documentaries "Life in the Undergrowth" and a week later I still can't stop thinking about it. Practically every single frame of the movie completely blew my mind. Go rent it tonight. And in the meantime, check out some clips over at YouTube. The one above is a time lapse of a spider building a web. Ridiculous! But I must say, of all the amazing things captured in this superb documentary, the slug sex scene is hands-down the most outrageous, surreal, unimaginable, crazytown stuff I've ever witnessed on film.

October 11, 2007

Fun Thing About Owning a Shoppe #233

Giveaways!!! We're during a little promotion with the wonderful folks over at Apartment Therapy, San Francisco where we're giving away one of our prized Lorena Barrezueta dishes. Go check it out, and maybe you'll be the lucky winner! We'll be adding a bunch more of her pieces to our online Shoppe in the very, very near future, so keep an eye out for those as well...

October 10, 2007

DIY Wednesdays on design*sponge

We are so excited to be the new DIY contributors on design*sponge! From now on, you can visit the site every Wednesday afternoon to see a new craft project that we've created. Last week we started with a trio of shadowboxes made out of old wine crates that we lined with gift wrap, and this week we recovered one of our old office chairs with a pretty striped fabric. (Click here to read today's post.)

It's going to be a fun challenge coming up with these weekly projects- and what great timing since we just moved and are in desperate need of some cheap and easy decor for our new apartment.

October 09, 2007

Sea Lions & Pine Cones

We took Shawn on a whirlwind mini tour of SF before he headed back to New York, and we all agreed that the best things we saw were the sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf and these pine cones hanging from the wires outside Mollusk.

It was such a nice treat to get out of the neighborhood, even for a couple of hours! Now it's back to work packing orders and sprucing up the shoppe for tomorrow morning. More soon!

October 06, 2007

Some pics!!

Finally... here are some photos of our Shoppe. The opening was a blast (expect a full report soon!) Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us.

September 28, 2007


We picked up our lovely hand painted sign from the talented folks at New Bohemia Signs the other day, and we're sooooo excited! Wait until you see how amazing it looks on installed on the front of the building. We'll be posting lots more pics as we get closer to the opening, so stay tuned!

September 25, 2007

Happy Anniversary to us!

Thank goodness someone reminded us that our anniversary was coming up! (See what happens when things get really busy? I can't believe we BOTH forgot!) Yesterday marked our 3 year wedding anniversary, and we celebrated with a yummy dinner at Spork, one of our new neighborhood restaurants. Then we went to our new favorite video store, Lost Weekend, and rented Casino Royale. (Then we stayed up until 1 am working... but at least we took a little break, right?)

For those of you who want to see how we spent our September 24th three years ago, check out the pics on our friend Jessamyn's awesome photography site, There is an entire page in the gallery dedicated to our true love log cabin jamboree!

September 21, 2007

Rit's it

Rit dye is one of those great craft products, like Mod Podge and Aleene's Tacky Glue, that is classic, cheap and multi-functional, and has awesome packaging that doesn't look like it has changed since the '70s.

Of course I've used Rit to dye fabric and yarn (and yes, even a tie-dyed shirt and over-dyed vintage slips back in the day), but it's fun to come up with other things to apply color to that aren't necessarily fiber-based. Back when I was working on Handmade Modern with Todd, we used Rit to stain some pieces of cork for a nightstand, which turned out great. And I've recently been playing around with staining pegboard and wood with it too. What else could we use this amazing dye for? A quick search on Flickr showed a few Blythe dolls with Rit-dyed hair, and the Rit website suggests using it to dye paper as well. The possibilities are endless!

September 20, 2007

Come one, come all!

It's official... our grand opening is two weeks from today! If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area the on the evening of Thursday, October 4th please stop by to say hello, check out the shoppe, and see some amazing art by our friend Shawn Creeden, whose show, Hollow Face, Hand Wing, will also be opening that night. And make sure to come by on Sunday the 7th at 2pm for what is bound to be an awesome and educational presentation about bats. Here is all the information- hope to see you there!!

The Curiosity Shoppe Grand Opening!
Thursday, October 4th 6-9 pm
Featuring Hollow Face, Hand Wing, new works in the gallery by Shawn Creeden on the subject of bats.

Plus: Join us for a free event featuring live bats, presented by the California Bat Conservation Fund and sponsored by the Curiosity Guild. Sunday, October 7th at 2 pm in the Shoppe.

855 Valencia Street
between 19th and 20th
San Francisco, CA

September 19, 2007

Fashion Show!

We are huge fans of Jack Spade, and were so excited when we heard about their recent Spring 2008 fashion show in Bryant Park. A smart, DIY happening that is totally up our alley. Watch it here. (Courtesy of one of our new favorite blogs, Hi + Low.)

September 13, 2007

THE golden record

Wow, it's been a long time! We've been busy, busy, busy getting ready for the opening of our store (more on that soon) and sadly, Smarts & Crafts isn't the only thing we've neglected (grocery shopping, anyone???) Anyway, I've had the idea to post about The Golden Record for a while now, and wouldn't you know it, those badass brainiacs over at Coudal Partners beat me to the punch. But I'm glad they did, because they found a great site that I somehow missed in my lame attempts at research.

Quick background: In 1977 NASA sent two Voyager spacecraft out into deep space. On those ships were 2 Golden Records chock full of information about our little green planet, the idea being that perhaps an alien life form might find the Voyagers, pop the records on their Hi-Fis and maybe come check us out. The discs include all kinds Earth-related ephemera: pictures, maps, diagrams, and an even an interstellar greeting from our very own President Jimmy Carter. Anyway, most interesting to me was that they also included audio recordings from Earth. Lots of them. Songs, languages, the sound of a mother kissing her baby, a heartbeat, nature noises...I just find the whole things so beautiful and wacky and optimistic and lovely. To get a nice sampling of what our extraterrestrial friends might find on the record click here.

August 30, 2007

Lunch at the diner

Yesterday for lunch we headed over to Tyger's coffee shop in Glen Park, where we treated ourselves to burgers and Cokes. It's a cute neighborhood greasy spoon, right there on the corner of Diamond and Chenery, and near a great bookstore called Bird & Beckett.

This morning I did a quick internet search for Tyger's, just wondering about its history, how long it's been there, etc. They have quite an interesting website! Definitely worth checking out- it includes pictures of their "library" and their "garden" (neither of which I believe exist...) And states "the mission here at Tyger's Coffee Shop is five-fold! First, to make the extraordinary into the ordinary. We have attempted, and accomplished this part of our mission! Second, to provide our clientele, that's you, I think, with distinctive, elegant, tastful dining in a luxurious atmosphere. And, of course, this too we have accomplished!" It goes on to talk about executive chef "Hannibal Lechner", who has "brought back all of the wonderful grease that everyone has long hoped for!"

Pretty hilarious, and it makes me like it even more.

August 23, 2007

Sticka & Virka

I have recently been obsessing over a book called Knitprovisation by Cilla Ramnek. Originally published in Sweden as "Sticka & Virka" (which according to a Swedish to English translation site I found, means "Stick & Lumber", which I'm not sure is completely right...), it's a knitting book with projects that use recycled clothing, yarn scraps and found objects. The photos and projects are strange and amazing- it almost more looks like a catalog that would accompany a museum art show than a craft book. And the models are awesome! Check out two of my favorites below:

A quick perusal of Ms. Ramnek's blog shows a few posts and photos from February of last year, including this amazing mosaic floor she designed for a cafe in Stockholm. I love how her style translates so well from knitted pieces to interiors. She's someone whose work I definitely want to keep an eye out for in the future.

August 20, 2007


Image courtesy of

Amidst all our packing, unpacking, cleaning, making messes and working in the shoppe this weekend, we managed to sneak out for a couple hours on Saturday night to see an awesome performance at the Make-Out Room called Mortified, in which a handful of people take turns getting up on stage and reading journals, poetry, song lyrics and letters that they wrote when they were teens. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.

Our pal Justin was one of the evening's performers, and he had people howling in their seats as he read diary excerpts from his teenage years. Mortified shows are held in San Francisco, LA, New York, Chicago, Boston, Portland, Austin and DC, so check their site for upcoming shows and make sure not to miss it!

August 16, 2007

August 14, 2007

Things and Stuff

photograph by Tony Longoria

Lots of news to share- we have found a retail space and will be opening a real live Curiosity Shoppe here in San Francisco this October! That's right, we will officially be a "click and brick" operation. (The photo above isn't of the shoppe, unfortunately, but was sent to us by our friend Tony. Don't you love the sign??)

In addition to relocating our business, we have decided to move into the apartment right upstairs from the shoppe, so we will be packing up everything else in our lives this week and moving this weekend! Crazy, right? Which means that orders placed online for the rest of the week (starting today) won't be going out until next Tuesday, 8/21. Sorry for the inconvenience, shoppe-rs!

More updates to follow...

The Curiosity Guild takes a bike ride

This weekend a group of us from the Curiosity Guild set out on a "stone soup" bike tour all around San Francisco, which was organized by our friend James (who will sadly be leaving this fair city soon to move onto bigger and better things). He collected contributions from all of us and planned our route, starting in Noe Valley all the way across town to Clement St. and back to Bernal Heights. As we rode, we collected all the various food items and ingredients that were on our list, which we brought home and made a delicious meal out of at the end of the day. We also made a few sightseeing stops along the way, including the mural pictured above, where we paused to take a group photo. Derek was a champ and documented our trip every step of the way, and you can see a complete slideshow of our bike tour here.

Some of the gang stops for a photo in Golden Gate Park.

We each picked out a bowl at Kamei, on Clement St.

Some dinner ingredients: foraged blackberries and rosemary, tomatoes, cilantro, onions.

More of our glorious bounty!

August 10, 2007


One of the joys of running your own store is the pleasure and privilege of selling things made by your friends. It's even better if the things your friends make are beautiful. Well, we're super lucky to count the lovely Stacy Pancake of pancake & franks as a friend of ours. And we're delighted to finally be offering her stunning letterpressed cards at the Shoppe.

August 08, 2007

A peek behind the curtain.

Michel Gondry is a big hero of mine. He constantly blows me away with his limitless talents and creative genius. This video is an all-time favorite. It's just stunning. The YouTube version doesn't quite do it justice, I recommend buying the Director's Series collection of his work. Anyway check this out...

And if you are wondering how the hell he did it, check this out....

(via Coudal)

August 06, 2007

Lots to talk about

We've been so busy that we haven't had much time to post! Which means we have lots to talk about. Just found out that my younger sister's baby is on the way, so I'm running out the door but will be back soon with lots of fun stuff and shoppe news. In the meantime, here is a funny from 1932 that our friend Matt forwarded to me- from my home town of Petaluma, the one-time chicken capital of the world!

August 02, 2007

In the mood for some visual inspiration

I have a short stack of DVDs that I always turn to whenever I need a little visual inspiration. These are movies that I've seen over and over again, and don't mind having on while I'm doing other things around the house. (i.e. Rushmore, The City of Lost Children, The Science of Sleep, the films of Charles & Ray Eames, etc.) But on the top of the stack is Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love, which I watched for the what must have been the hundredth time again the other night. The visuals in this movie are to die for! The set decoration and prop styling are flawless, not to mention the costumes and cinematography, and don't get me started on the music.... I highly, highly recommend this film to anyone out there who hasn't seen it!