Rare Device: Necklaces.

What is Rare Device? (Besides and awesome store in Brooklyn.) If you are an English major or an English teacher, you know that ‘Rare Device’ is from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan. (If you are a true bookworm, you know that Ray Bradbury took a stab at that phrase too.)

Rare Device is, simply, good stuff for you and your home. Rena Tom, the creator, is a former jewelry and graphic designer who loves design. Every object in the store has its own story, and has been chosen because it is either handmade, well-designed, useful, beautiful or all of the above.

I’ve been semi-obsessed with this Razorblade Necklace ($110) for almost a year now. It comes on a 16″ sterling chain and isn’t sharp enough to cut, sorry.

This Currant Necklace ($60) is a little bit closer to my price range. It’s made from thin, recycled stainless steel and sterling silver.


Magazine Envelopes.

A few days ago I came across someone on Etsy selling homemade envelopes. Seeing them made countless memories of summer camp in Ligonier, PA come rushing back to the forefront of my mind. Not only did I spend two weeks of my summer at Camp Ligonier for three years in a row, but it’s also where I met my first legitimate boyfriend, Adam. This was back in the day before email had really arrived, so we wrote letters back and forth after the two weeks were over. Adam’s letters to me always arrived in envelopes ripped from the pages of Rolling Stone and Spin. My boyfriend was. So. Cool. Magazines became a new outlet for creativity – instead of reading the articles I immediately flipped through the pages looking for the perfect page that was coincidentally centered so I could fold one rockin’ envelope.


Amy Jean Porter.

Amy Jean Porter is an awesome artist I’ve come across lately in My Search for Amazing, Life-Altering Art and Design (if i said that out loud, it would echo with immense importance). Her drawings, some of which resemble pencil and crayon mediums, make me think of what Napoleon Dynamite may have done with his career had the Liger made it big.

My favorites are the antelope jackrabbit (jackelope perhaps?) and the jaguar which is strangely Liger-esque. Don’t miss the best part – at the bottom right hand corners. The jackelope reads, “There’s something savant-like about you” and the jaguar, “Man, you’ve got good-looking handwriting.”


How to know when you’ve done a good ad.

I love this…

It’s not an easy thing to know. A good ad isn’t like a ball everyone sees sail over the fence for a homerun. Or a kiss, that when it’s over your eyes open on someone else’s heat. A good ad is a tricky, slippery, evasice beast that doesn’t like to be caught, won’t stand still, won’t come out when called. A good ad is a greased pig when it comes time to put your hands on one. Masters of disguise, good ads sneak out of you in bars, the shower, dreams, even in advertising meetings, and run away to lost pages in your workbook or torn up sheets in office wastebaskets. There are even good ads that hide inside other ads and remain unrecognized even when shown on television. (Heck, there’s likely a good ad hiding inside this one.) Some people think you can only tell a good ad when it appears in an advertising award show. Some people would say theonly good ad is one that “sells product.” Whether or not these are helpful identifiers of what makes a good ad good is not the point here. (I would say emphatically they are not.) What we’re interested in is how do you know – the moment you’ve done it – when you’ve done a good ad. How do you decide to stop writing, talking ot thinking and grab the little bastard before he makes a getaway, pin him down on the floor and call for the creative director? One word. There’s one word that, if it fairly describes your ad, tells you you’re done. It’s not honesty though that’s an excellent virtue good ads often contain. It’s not funny or provocative or wow or … The word is art. In my gentle opinion, the word is art. An indefinable monster of a word that means something slightly different to each person is the secret to good advertising. When you’ve made art, stop. Until you have, don’t. I believe it’s that simple.

(stolen from Mark Fenske)



Essimar (at Etsy) had some of the most adorable “mini” cards – the Pink Citrus Mini Card set to be exact. Two mini cards (2.5 x 4″) and two mini envelopes for $6.50. All silk-screened and printed by hand. Reminds me of summery goodness!

I’m also really into the Tea Chat cards. Get a set of four in peach, lilac, pink and white with matching envelopes for $12.


Blackbird Press.

I love the Etsy Shop, I just say it enough times. I wish I could have an entire day just to look through the site – and since I’m wishing here, I’d also like enough money to purchase every single thing that I want. Thanks.

Today’s find is Blackbird Press. Here are the pieces that jumped out at me. The notecards are $10 for four and the stationary is $25 for ten. I love the delicate quality of the small initial in the center of all that space.


Leigh Wells.

I came across illustrator Leigh Wells on design*sponge a few weeks back and was really taken with her. Leigh creates images for advertising, design, publishing and editorial clients out of San Francisco. Some of her clients (out of a rather lengthy list) include Absolut vodka, Atlantic Records, Convers, The New York Times and Rolling Stone.


Linda & Harriet.

Linda & Harriett letterpressed notecards and hand-stamped invitations will remind you of your grandmother’s quilt, your mother’s kitchen towels or your favorite children’s book. They are the designs of Liz Coulson Libré and inspired by her mother’s taste for the beautiful, the practical and the whimsical.

I’m especially into these tags. Why aren’t more tags available anywhere? I can think of about a million things I could use them for!


Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

I just started the book Special Topics in Calamity Physics but Marisha Pessl two days ago and am so impressed and intrigued by it that I had to share. The book’s layout is an elaborate construction modeled after the syllabus of a college literature course—36 chapters are named after everything from Othello to Paradise Lost to The Big Sleep—that culminates with a final exam. It even includes reference “diagrams.” I’m only three chapters in, but can’t put it down.


Peculiar Pair Press.

Peculiar Pair Press is made up of Amy and Mary Beth – two paper crazed graphic designers (man, can I relate to that!). Their wedding invitations, which are mostly custom with a small selection of retail pieces, were beautiful. But what really impressed me was their site design. I’ve been getting more and more into web design in the past few weeks – possibly because I’m branching out into that realm myself career-wise. I thought that the use of color and details on Peculiar Pair’s site was awesome. Quite a few of their invitations reflect the design showcased. A new line of stationary is anticipated and due to arrive in the near future. Take a look at the site.