Thursday, October 29, 2009

How Tweed It Is…

(click image above to enlarge)
Harris Tweed, Herringbone Tweed, anything wooly—I love it! Wearing tweed reminds me that the season is changing and the holidays are just around the corner. In San Francisco the changing of the seasons is subtle—no big snowstorms, just a bit of a chill in the air and an amber tinge to the sunlight. Here’s some of my favorite tweed and wooly items on my wish list right now:

1) This Paris Herringbone Tweed bicycle helmet would be perfect for the next Tweed Run (check out the San Francisco Tweed here)! You can pick different covers that fit snugly over a tough helmet form. You can even get optional ear warmers—for those chilly autumn rides.

2) Every autumn, when I was a kid, I would get a new pair of desert boots—but I never had a pair of Harris Tweed desert boots! Clarks released this special tweed desert boot, with contrasting leather trim, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of their most iconic footwear styles.

3) The blue and gray tweed front panels give this wool cardigan a vintage feel—Mr. Rogers never had a cardigan sweater this chic!

4) Mr. Peacock loves this Patch NYC pillow with a silk-screened gentleman’s pipe drawn by Don Carney.

5) I like the simplicity of this wooly web belt.

6) This wool Wheeler Shirt jacket is currently at the top of my wish list. I love the detailing: horn buttons, white and brown plaid lining, and elbow patches (see photo at top right).

7) Hmmm, I’m not sure which pair of tweed desert boots I like best? I think these blue and gray plaid wool desert boots are the winner!

8) Engineered Garments has a plethora of tweed and wooly goodies in their Fall/Winter Collection that will keep you stylishly warm and cozy (at right).

What wooly or Tweed items are you going to wear this season to keep warm and cozy?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tagged—Lucky 7...

Two creative ladies with panache tagged Mr. Peacock last week...

The very talented Patricia, at PVE Design, nominated Mr. Peacock for a “Kreative Blog Award.”

And the ever-crafty Sherie, at Skitzo Leezra Studio, nominated Mr. Peacock for a “One Lovely Blog Award.”

Thank you talented ladies!

In turn, Mr. Peacock is sharing 7 random bits about himself and tagging 7 other bloggers. So here goes:

1) My first set of golf clubs (at age 2)...came in a little red plaid golf bag (above). While my dad would practice hitting golf balls on the driving range, I would hit my golf balls (I think they were ping pong balls) nearby. When my dad would pick-up his huge black golf bag...I’d pick-up my little red plaid golf bag and put it over my shoulder.

2) I won a medal for speaking Russian in 8th grade at the state Olympiada (an all day Russian language competition for 8th-12th graders held on the campus of University of Colorado, in Boulder). During one segment of the daylong competition, you randomly drew a category. I drew “my family.” You then had, I think, an hour to write and memorize a 5 minute speech in Russian on the topic you drew. My amazing Russian teacher coached me to speak slowly (I normally talk very fast), and if I stumbled to calmly say, “Just a minute please (in Russian, of course). The speech segment was in a large auditorium in front of a panel of judges and you were scored on your accent, grammar, et all. Ironically, I didn’t want to compete, but my teacher bribed me by telling me he would give me an A for the entire semester if I participated in the Olympiada. It worked out; I got an A and a Silver Medal.

3) I’ve never really been a star chaser, but I do have Sammy Davis Jr.’s autograph (I liked his song,
The Candyman, from Willy Wonka when I was a kid—go figure see #6). He played in a golf tournament that my father played in—President Gerald Ford’s Golf Invitational.

Above: Sammy's autograph—this was actually for my mom. I had Sammy's and his wife, Altovise's autograph, but I gave my autograph book away to a friend years ago (who was really into celebrity autographs).

I was probably 13 or 14 years old, and I remember towering over him—he was so little. His wife, at the time, Altovise, also towered over him. Me and my younger sister, Samantha, had “VIP” passes (because my dad was in the tournament) so we could walk just about anywhere unrestricted at the tournament—so we could get close-up and pester the celebrities. President Ford was more difficult, however, because he had secret service men all around him.

4) Mr. Peacock loves any kind of lemon dessert...

5) ...probably because I’m allergic to chocolate.

6) I’ve never liked candy either! Again, maybe if I could taste chocolate, it would be a different story. But I loved the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory movie!

7) This is my favorite letter in the Cyrillic alphabet (along with the entire alphabet above). This letter, zheh, is supposed to be inspired from looking down on a beetle (the shape)...the sound of this letter is zhur…sort of like Zsa Zsa (Gabor). I love typography, and I think the Cyrillic alphabet is what initially attracted me to the Russian language (see #2). I’m not of Russian decent either.

Thanks to all of the fellow bloggers for the tags and fun awards.
Mr. Peacock was also tagged last May.

Mr. Peacock Tags:
Architect Design

The Accessorator

Dumbwit Tellher

Hiberian Homme

The Haunted Lamp

Night is half gone

Stella’s Roar

Ask someone you know to share 7 bits about themselves that you don’t know, and in turn share 7 things about yourself. Happy Monday!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wingin’ It

There’s something very comforting about plopping into a wingback chair with a good book or the Sunday New York Times. The cozy “wings” feel very protective too—shrouding you from any drafts. Many modern wingback chairs have taken on a more fluid and curvy silhouette, as compared to the very linear wingbacks of our great grandparents. There are so many iconic wingback chairs, but here are a few of my favorites.
This Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair is at the top of my wishlist. I don't care if it's a vintage or a new reproduction...

I just love the shape and form of this Papa Bear Wingback Chair—it's like a piece of art.

This vintage wingback is very traditional and rustic, in the spirit of the 17th century...

...I like the open back, and checked fabric.

In contrast, this Bergere wingback is very modern with a fluid silhouette and a somewhat loose interior structure. The chair has a swing movement with fully removable covers. I think I’d like the cover interior in a solid fabric, and the exterior in some sort of modern toile.

Tom Dixon waved his magic wand on this sleek and tall wingback upholstered in mohair velvet.

These masculine black wingbacks have a traditional silhouette, but the glossy black legs give them a modern edge.

This Bel Air Wingchair takes the elements of a traditional wingback and turns it into a chaise. I love the nail head detailing.

Mr. Peacock is swooning over the clean and curvy lines of this modern beauty.

I like the sharp angles of this vintage mid-century wingback (it’s already been sold, but I wanted to share the shape).

I like the tufted backs on this pair of vintage wingbacks chairs upholstered in pale blue linen.

I like the turned wood legs too.

The Italians expertly create flowing, modern silhouettes. This modern wingback chair reminds me of an elegant praying mantis with its long legs.

Mr. Peacock loves this Italian wingback! It has a smaller scale than most, but it still has the comforting attributes of larger scaled wingbacks.

It’s perfect for an apartment too. When I first sat in this chair (in Milan) it wasn’t available in California (long story-fire hazards), but I believe it’s now available here.

Speaking of chairs, this book, Once Upon a Chair, is on my book wish list.

I once found a wood wingback chair frame abandoned on the sidewalk at 58th & Park Avenue, in Manhattan. I wasn't sure if someone was going to load it in a van or something, so I waited and asked people in the vicinity if the chair was theirs. It wasn't, so I hailed a cab and dragged the chair frame back to my apartment. I liked it just as an object without any upholstery, but I ended up upholstering it myself in natural linen.

Hopefully you have a wingback chair (or at least a favorite comfy chair) to plop into this weekend and read the Sunday paper or a good book!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Farewell to my faves…

Our neighborhood video store announced they would be closing at the end of this month and put their entire inventory up for sale. We stopped by and bought a few cds. I felt like I was scavenging through the belongings of a friend that just passed away. I guess I took it for granted it would always be there.

I refuse to rent from Blockbuster, which also has a store in our neighborhood. Ironically, they are closing too. The convenience and selection of Netflix is so easy, most video stores will probably go by the wayside—if they haven’t already. We did Netflix the first year they launched, but became disenchanted with it for too many reasons to list here and quit our membership.

Jason dragged me to the 8th Annual San Francisco Documentary Film Festival this past Sunday afternoon at The Roxie theater near our apartment. We saw the film, I Need That Record, which chronicles the demise of the local independent record store—focusing on a few closing shops in Connecticut.

The film also has interviews with Thurston Moore, from Sonic Youth, and a handful of other music aficionados commenting on the current state of record stores. It portrayed the neighborhood record store as more than just a retail outlet, but as part of the community and a social place for people of all ages to go.

I left the film feeling very melancholic, and a little bit angry. I want to blame technology for what I think are the negative shifts in our culture, but it’s not really the technology to blame—it’s much more complicated and involves so many different factors. And I know, everything must change and evolve.

Mr. Peacock should make a documentary called, I Need That Magazine. I grew up reading and enjoying magazines. My mother was a magazine junkie, mind you she didn’t subscribe to Better Homes & Gardens, or Good Housekeeping—she bought Interview, Ms, Vanity Fair, Details (when it was a downtown Manhattan cultural guide), W, and Prevention (when it was just text and a few illustrations) to name a few. Of course my dad got all of the Golf Magazine titles, which bored me at the time.

Above: Some of my favorite Gourmet magazine issues—new and old.

I still enjoy the physical experience of sitting and reading a magazine, saving it and reading it again later on. I guess if I didn’t have that experience, and grew up only with the Internet, then maybe an online magazine would be a similar experience for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet and have many favorite online magazines, I still prefer to have a hard copy of some of my favorite issues. I’ve read the newspaper online for almost a decade, but I still like to buy a physical copy of the Sunday New York Times.

Mr. Peacock embraces and celebrates technology, but some of the side effects on our culture and society seem bittersweet. Of course
I love blogs—which are sort of like the new form of leisure reading, instead of magazines. But I’m mourning the loss of many hard copy magazines (ie Gourmet), used bookstores, and local record shops.

I feel fortunate that I live in a city that has unique and independently owned stores and restaurants—all within walking distance of my home. It saddens me that a kid growing up somewhere outside of a big city will only have chain restaurants (the same ones across our country), Borders Bookstores, and Walmarts as choices for their local cultural experiences. Admittedly, these kids can find and explore the Internet—if they’re curious and long for something more, but it’s not the same social experience as the real thing.

Mr. Peacock’s hope for these endangered media favorites (magazines, local bookstores and record shops, and art film houses too) is that they start to reopen as niche shops that cater to a narrow clientele that specifically wants what they’re offering.

Our favorite local record shop, Aquarius Records (above), has weathered the storms for 30 years by focusing on offering a unique selection of music in a small shop—but also having a great website too (you can hear samples and read honest reviews). The staff is all music aficionados who love music—many are in bands too. That energy is reflected in the store.

There’s a fantastic bookstore nearby called Get Lost, which specializes in only travel books and maps. It’s great because if you’re going on vacation to say, Italy…you can go peruse everything on Italy. Yes, you can do that on Amazon too, but it’s different comparing titles in person. I admit, I succumb to the conveniece and the great prices on Amazon, but I still like to patronize my local shops too. I don’t want to end up with one monopoly online store.

Many great magazine titles have shut down in the past few years, but many new titles have also launched. So I'm optimistic about the longevity of magazines. One of my favorite launches from the past few years, Buckstyle, segued from a hardcopy magazine to a web magazine (you can read about BuckStyle's founder and editor, Steve Doyle, right here).

I think there’s still a market for magazines, but it’s a niche market that will be willing to pay more for a quality magazine. So the cost of publishing the magazine will weigh more on the reader (with a higher newsstand price), than relying on the income of selling advertisers. I look forward to the new titles that will launch in the coming years. There are only a few good local newsstands left in the city. Luckily, I can walk to almost all of them (see one above)! And support my favorite titles!

What’s your thoughts on the state of technology and media? Do you have a favorite little shop in your neighborhood?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Checks from Head-To-Toe

(click image above to enlarge)
Buffalo plaid, buffalo check, checked, plaid…whatever you want to call these patterns—Mr. Peacock likes 'em. The colors of these checks and plaids (blues, grays, blacks, and creams) always seem to have a vintage aura to me—which I find appealing. Maybe it’s because I had a favorite Pendleton shirt jacket in black, blue and gray when I was growing up? I probably wouldn’t wear these patterns head-to-toe—although I joyfully did in my 20’s! They look fantastic mixed with solid dark and muted colors.

1) Boxers or briefs? Well if they’re plaid boxers, then the answer would be boxers.

2) These slim checkered trousers would look great with a nice cozy wool cardigan sweater, or a gray wool coat (at right).

3) Mr. Peacock adores this plaid quilted jacket. It has a retro vibe, but leave it to Paul Smith to add a purple lining. My shirt jackets growing up just had black linings. I also like the pointed collar detail that allows you to wear the collar up or down (at right).

5) I grew up wearing many shirts similar to this Woolrich buffalo check wool shirt. It was a staple wardrobe item during the autumn and winter months growing up in Colorado.

5) Slip these black and white buffalo plaid socks under a pair of zippered boots.

6) And like every teenager, I had many inexpensive plaid flannel shirts—some new (usually holiday gifts) and some scored at thrift stores. They only get better with age too—soft and cozy! I think just about everyone has a flannel shirt or two somewhere in their closet.

Did you grow-up with flannel shirts, Pendleton plaid wool shirts, and wool shirt jackets?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shake, Rattle & Roll...

It has been a beautiful day here in San Francisco—very warm, very still and no fog... or as people like to say “earthquake weather.” Twenty years ago today it was also warm and still, Mr. Peacock was working at a design studio that sold & designed fonts and published a design magazine in Berkeley, California (next door to Oakland, California). The warehouse style office was situated next door to a sake factory and a gay bathhouse near the Berkeley Marina. The day before, I lost my wallet on the subway with all of my cash, drivers license, bank card…everything. I was a newbie at this job. It was just me and my two bosses (who were married) at this gig.

I was in the back area finishing up packaging the purchased magazines and fonts (that were going to be picked up by UPS) when the electricity flickered on and off for a second…I’ll never forget what then followed.

For 15 seconds, at 5:05pm, on October 17, 1989 the 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred. You’re supposed to get under a door jam during an earthquake, but when the quake started I completely froze and couldn’t move. I could hear one of my bosses yelling to me, “Get out of there and let’s get outside.” All of the industrial steel bookcases with the books and magazines toppled to the floor, and I ran towards the front door. The carpet-covered floor was rolling and buckling—it looked like waves under the carpet, no exaggeration. There was also a very loud rumble, almost like the sound of thunder.

Those 15 seconds were in slow motion—it felt like minutes had passed when the rolling finally subsided. Everyone was standing in the middle of the streets and cars were pulled over on the sides of the roads—everyone looked shocked and stunned.

Above: The Bay Bridge—looking from Berkeley towards San Francisco, and Treasure Island (in the middle).

One of my bosses (a Dutch expatriate) jokingly said, “Welcome to California.” The three of us went back inside and they assumed it was just another earthquake—not realizing how big and how much damage it caused. I was shaken up. I had been in smaller earthquakes before in Los Angeles but nothing like this. I lived in San Francisco, and they asked if I wanted to spend the night at their place in Berkeley, but I just wanted to go home to my apartment and be with my friends. The electricity was knocked out, so we left the mess and locked up.

They went home…and I walked to the bus stop. I could take the subway or bus, but I decided I didn't want to be under the water (on the subway) if we had any aftershocks (the subway tunnel runs on the floor of the bay from Berkeley/Oakland to San Francisco), so I chose to wait for the bus.

As I waited for the bus, the streets seemed to get more chaotic, like a busy anthill. Droves of people started walking by me and someone shouted, “The bus isn’t coming because the top tier of the Bay Bridge collapsed.” (see photo below)

From that moment on everything became surreal that evening. I started walking towards the Berkeley campus, not sure what I was doing or how I would get back to San Francisco.

I could see the top of building pediments from the older 1920’s building had broken off and crushed the windshields of cars below (see above), and smoke was billowing all along the hills of Berkeley from broken gas lines—and of course sirens everywhere. Cell phones weren’t prevalent then, and there were long lines of people at pay phones trying to get make calls. Some streets had so much damage, while other streets looked almost normal and were unscathed.

I decided to sit down at another bus stop bench and just wait a moment until things settled down. As I waited, a Hare Krishna came up to me and said, “You are the supreme jewel…” and handed me an index card rubber stamped with the words “supreme jewel.” My friends jokingly referred to me as Supreme Jewel in the following weeks.

By now it was getting dark, and an older man sat down with me on the bench. He kept looking at me and then introduced himself and shook my hand. He was very scruffy (he could have been homeless), and seemed strange to me, so I tried to ignore him. I glanced over and his pants were unzipped and he was masturbating. I decided to go directly to the BART (the subway station).

When I got to the BART station it was a mob scene, with people sitting everywhere. The trains were shut down because the tunnel under the bay was cracked and leaking water. So I sat down and waited with the crowds.

Around 1am, they announced that buses would take people to awaiting ferries to San Francisco. I waited in line for a bus, and finally boarded a ferry boat heading for San Francisco. It was completely quiet and very dark outside (the electricity was still knocked out). Everyone on the ferry was very amorous, I think because of the emotional stress from the quake. Many people (many strangers) were making out (I wasn’t).

As we approached San Francisco, you could see huge billows of smoke from fires, over the completely darkened city. There were just a few twinkles of light here and there from generators.

When I finally got to my apartment around 2:30 am, my 3 three roommates were all buzzed from alcohol sitting around lit candles. The water had shut off (for 2 days) and the only liquid we had in the apartment was cheap vodka. Luckily, our place didn't have any serious damage. Some of the door frames tilted a bit during the quake, and then the doors wouldn't shut within the frame, but nobody was hurt...and our building was still intact. Our neighborhood made it through the quake!

The days following the big quake all of the bars were very crowded and everyone was very friendly. We had many aftershocks too—some as big as 4.0. I gathered my favorite snapshots and mementos and put them in a backpack with a flashlight. It weighed a ton, but I carried that backpack around with me for about a year, like a security blanket in case we had another emergency and I couldn’t get home.

The next day I got a phone call that someone turned in my wallet I lost on the subway (the day before the quake) with everything still in it—including the money!

Above: People waiting in line for fresh water. Thankfully, our water came back on at the end of the second day after the quake.

I am very thankful that nobody I knew was hurt in the quake, a that my office and apartment were built on bedrock instead of landfill.

We still have earthquakes (recent activity here)
, and my heart stops every time the electricity briefly flickers on and off. My apartment where I live now—creaks loudly and feels like a tree-house swaying during the smaller earthquakes (3.0-5.0) we've had in the past few years. It’s a reminder to everyone to have a plan in case of an emergency—who to call, where to meet, etc… And have at least 5 gallons of water on hand, and canned foods. I better go get some bottled water right now—all I have on hand is some good port and few bottles of champagne!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dish it up...

Mr. Peacock shared his dish queen affliction last fall. Here's a few more of my favorite black & white porcelain pieces from my collection.

This vintage bowl is one of my favorite pieces of my dish collection! I found this vintage Copeland/Spode bowl ages ago at a flea market. I was drawn to the zodiac pattern and the scalloped edge.

Here’s a detail of Capricorn. I always use this bowl (10” diameter) to serve a side dish at Thanksgiving.

I also use this small platter (12”) at the holidays. It’s a vintage Syracuse China plate—probably from a diner or restaurant. I’ve had it a long time—I think I bought it at a yard sale for $2. I like the black scrolling around the top and bottom edge... for some design reason the scrolling doesn't connect.

Here's a detail of the scrolling pattern. I'm guessing it's from the 1940's or 1950's.

Mr. Peacock recently acquired this inexpensive “You Are My Sunshine” plate.

Here’s a detail of the clothespins (drawn with dots) and paperclips that create the circular pattern around the center type.

This little 4” Danish plate is dated 1967 and is inscribed with “Den standhaftige tinsoldat—handmalet.” I think it translates to “The standing tin soldier.”

Here’s one of my small vintage (4”) Fornasetti plates from the Sun & Moon series.

Here's a silly video of Cousin Emmy, and Pete Seeger, performing her rendition of "You Are My Sunshine" —circa early 1950's. Have a fun weekend!