Here we go again

I didn't think I could have said or written the word "postcard" more often in the past week than I have. Postcard this, postcard that. I love postcards, I really do. All of the postcards are sent, people! If you gave me your address, your postcard is in the mail. Or already in your hot little hands, which ever the case may be.

While we're talking about postcards, here is my all time favorite one. Noon. So random and cute. Thanks Jim!

I'm sorry, I am feeling very loopy. It must be the fact that I've typed postcard 7 times in this post. Well 8 times if you count that last time.

You have my solemn vow to never mention postcards again here. Too much of a good thing, I guess.

Global Success

I've found lots of postcard matches and I've got a big stack already to go. Now I just need your addresses, folks.

If you wanted one (and even if you didn't comment!) email me your address and preferred locales to aemerrick(at)gmail(dot)com, I'll send you a little treat even if I can't match up you with a postcard.

PS- There are Canadian and UK postcards, please give me a reason to buy pretty overseas stamps!

Going Postal

My love for all things mail related is no secret. I've talked about my favorite kind of stamps, mailing supplies, my cross country letter writing campaigns, I could go on and on. I really love the US postal service.

So imagine my unbounded joy when a few years back I found these, a set of over 200 old postcards at a Provincetown thrift shop, all together just $10!

Collected from all over the country (and a bit heavily in California, I might add), they're mostly blank, some are oldies and lots are from the 40's and 50's.

Dozens have already been sent out to my friends in the past few years and a ton still remain.

Help me get rid of my worldly possessions and tell me where you're from and I'll try to find you a match. Not a lot of East Coasters, but lets try anyway.

Modesto, anyone? I've got a ton of those.

Gypsy Caravan

I literally had to stumble over a big pile of garbage to snatch these photos from the top of a newspaper pile at my favorite hidden gem junk shop.

Sometimes you can forget that there are wonderful little pockets of truth in folklore. For example, gypsies really did exist and so did their head scarves. Case in point.

They also made adorable matching mother/daughter dresses. That little girl makes me want to cry she's so cute.

Sometimes they prematurely shaved there heads (on the right) and looked like amazing carnival strong men. Or carnival strong men looked them them.

Anyone still keeping up with Hebrew? All I got is 1925.

My big sis is going to have her own gypsy caravan one day, complete with homemade dresses and painted wagons, so I had to send these to her.

Until that day comes, I'll just have to wear more silk scarves while practicing my dark and mysterious pout.

Back to the cat.

His name is Bertie. Like Gilbert Blythe, Bertie Botts (I'm outed as a massive HP nerd) or Sesame Street.

He is adorable. He is charming. He is handsome. He is a cheeky little monster. He fell behind the stove yesterday and was there for about 6 hours. Not a single peep.

I though he kamikazed out of the 3rd story window. I was in hysterics. Jim played it cool for the most part. We were both a wreck, though. Eventually Jim thought to move the stove to double check he couldn't fit behind it. Well, he could and he did.

But I think he knows better then to pull a stunt like that again. I almost smothered him to death with kisses afterwards and while he tolerated the kissing, I don't think he'd like to have it happen again.

Suspiciously Swedish

Ikea: a four letter word or salvation depending on who you ask. While walking around the giant, mostly windowless fortress (as we did yesterday) isn't my cup of tea, neither is paying through the nose for the same stuff elsewhere.

That being said, I do try to support my local businesses, but with two kitty mouths to feed I've got to watch the good ol' family budget. For things that are really special or where quality matters (like kitchen knives) I shop locally, ahem, the brooklyn kitchen. Sheesh, I love that place.

Long story short, I am not above Ikea. In fact, I love my Ikea bits and pieces. Not the furniture though, I'd rather find something old for the same price. But that's just me.

The red and white dish towels I adore, 49 cents and if you squint they look like old french linens. I try to buy them in stacks of 20, I don't use paper towels, so the more the merrier. And the knit pot holders look very handmade, too. Only $2. Couldn't buy the yarn to make them for cheaper.

Heavy bottomed juice glasses. A classic and a steal.

Plus the yellow ones also came from my local dollar store, $1.49 for a set of 4. I think they've been sitting on the same shelf since the 70's.

I don't dream of fancy can openers, so buying cheapo Ikea ones allow me to take the money I saved and buy a dreamy bread board or a hand carved wooden spoon, kitchen tools I DO dream about.

And the trash cans can't be beat. White enameled oscar the grouch style for both garbage and recycling.

Cork trivets, woot woot! A million and one uses!

Their cookie jars hold damn near every thing in my kitchen. Pasta, nuts, rice, tea bags but I keep the big one holding my spare sheet moss outside the cabinets. Looks like a terrarium but isn't.

Blue and white napkins in assorted plaids and stripes also make me very very happy. Hmm, wonder why.

And yes, as soon as I get home I immediately get rid of the evidence; snipping out tags and peeling off stickers. Then I can get back to pretending the whole trip never happened in the first place.

There's a new cat in town

As I write this there is a fluffy small black cat on my lap. She's kneading at the lap top keys, blissfully unaware that tonight her little kitty life is going to change forever.

She is no longer going to be the spoiled only child in this house. Introducing our new (still unnamed) kitty! He is coming home from the Animal Care & Control tonight. And yes, he is a he. So no Mabel or Nell or Gertie or Bess or Violet.

You guys are going to have to watch me like a hawk to ensure this doesn't turn into a forum to post only photos of my kitties. Because its going to be tempting.

Care package

You know you've been a naughty blogger when someone emails you and says "Are you ok? You haven't been blogging". Woops. Busted. It's true, I've been in a funk. Hopefully, it's over.

I've been hitting the post office a lot these days (it's a secret as to why!) and I've been in desperate need of good mailers.

Luckily Ginny introduced me to Caremail, a neat company that makes recycled packing supplies; tape, bubble mailers, boxes, packing peanuts. And the kind I needed cost less than 50 cents a piece!

That even beats my local dollar store.

Plus as I've said before, I'm hopeless devoted to the brown paper package/string concept so I adore them on that front, too. They even came tied up with their own recycled twine.

Just in case you need to smack some stamps down on your recycled mailer, take note. May 11th postage will be raised another 2 cents.

Now I'm very very excited about having an excuse to shop from the additional postage section of the USPS website.

For some reason lots of the additional postage stamps are of really neat antiques. Which is fine by me, of course.

A toleware coffee pot? A Chippendale chair? A roman numeral clock? They'd all look very handsome next to Edgar Allen, if I do say so myself.

The golden ticket!

I got the golden ticket.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy chocolate, which is kind of the same thing. Especially if you can share it with someone you love.

Mend and make do

Times are tough in the Merrick house.

Long gone are the days of weekly (and sometimes daily) breakfasts at Cafe Cluny or Clinton Street Baking Co. Also forgone are the antique/collectible sections of eBay. No more $10 toothbrushes from Bigelows. In fact, nothing from the West Village at all.

I have been cooking dinner nearly every. single. night. since September. I've been walking far more than ever. I make coffee at home. I'm even brown bagging lunch.

Just in time for New York's own frugal push, the American Folk Art Museum has an exhibit called "Recycling & Resourcefulness: Quilts of the 1930s". The quilts were such a touching reminder of the good that can come from hard times, I actually cried. I think I was just feeling a little over emotional anyway, but the guard thought I was nuts.

Back at home, I am trying to slowing add a little bit of Great Depression resourcefulness to my regime.

What started off as a tiny hole in my all time favorite Ralph Lauren sheets some how morphed into this giant, gaping 18" long split in the past few weeks. Don't ask me how.

Under normal financial circumstances I'd just race to find some new ones but I really love this pattern and couldn't stand to see it in the trash. So I mended them, a zig zag stitched on the sewing machine and some contrasting embroidery for a bit of dust bowl charm. A bit shabby, but I'm a bit shabby these days, too.

I even started mending some of the small holes to save myself the trouble of having to do a big fix in the future. Hearts can cheer anyone up.

And I've extended the mending practice to all levels of my house. This is my grandma's cardigan, my favorite of favorite pieces of clothes. It's just perfectly snug but not too snug and perfectly thin but not too thin. And maybe I'll get around to replacing the lost buttons one day.

I've been bemoaning the threadbare elbows forever, living in fear of the day that they burst open and I'm left with 2" wide holes on my arms. That day was very very near indeed until I had the realization that those patches that designers sometimes put on fancy sweaters, when the want them to look professor-ish, they actually served a real purpose once upon a time!

Home made leather elbow patches to the rescue! I love taking care of the things I do have, instead of dreaming of the things I can't. As the 30's quilters said "If you can't be rich, be resourceful."

By any other name...

I am itching for spring, flat out dying for spring this year. On a warm(ish) day last week I took to my beloved rose garden to see if I could find ANY sign of ANY hint of spring.

This was before the biggest snow storm of this winter, mind you.

I love this rose garden, I come in here every month without fail. I've blathered about it in all seasons, here and here have photographic evidence to boot.

Gardens in winter are almost eerily calm and deserted, except for fat little sparrows trying desperately to find their next meal.

Bramble, thicket, brier. Undeniably a few of my favorite words in the whole world.

And they all seem to fit a rose bush in winter better than they do in summer. Something about stripping off the leaves and just seeing a skeleton of tangled thorns.

With a garden of only thorns, the lonely little black plant markers seem to be the shows main attraction. These names are so darling, it makes me want to get another cat just so I can name it after a rose.

Dainty Bess? Like in Little Women? Circa 1925? That would be one heck of a cute cat name.

Do you guys have any cute ideas for kitty names? Jim and I are going to the pound on Thursday to scope out possible new additions to the family and I want to be prepared with an arsenal of good names.

I've been pushing for a Mabel for months, but I guess it depends on the cat, too.