Friday, April 29, 2011

what's on the menu?

My friend Susan posted something on Facebook a couple of days ago, and it is so cool that I couldn't resist sharing it here.

From the New York Public Library's website, "What's on the Menu?":

To solve this, we’re working to improve the collection by transcribing the menus, dish by dish. Doing this will allow us to dramatically expand the ways in which the collection can be researched and accessed, opening the door to new kinds of discoveries. We’ve built a simple tool that makes the transcribing pretty easy to do, but it’s a big job, so we need your help.

Well, count me in. 

In addition to it being really easy to take part in the project, it is a real treat (no pun intended) browsing through the menus in the collection, both in terms of design and content.
This one is so pretty, I'd like to frame it and hang it on my wall, 
along with the Mardi, le 11 Decembre 1900 menu, above.
 Watch out - things can get kind of wild at Ladies' Day at the Drug-Trade Club!

A few menus from Buffalo's Statler's Restaurant:

 Thank goodness it's perfectly ventilated...

 ... and the meals are daintily served.

And a few from Buffalo's Statler Hotel Restaurant (where you could get your breakfastluncheonddinner):

 I love these menus from the 1901 Pan American Expo in Buffalo:

Hmm ... raw meat sandwich, anyone?

Celery mayonnaise salad - actually, all things celery - must have been very popular at the turn of the century.

A few more that caught my eye while browsing:

 Please do not fee the waiters.

"Cucumbers - High Priced, but we must have them."

 Some of my favorite menus are the handwritten ones.

Here is a menu I helped transcribe this morning:
 I'll have the table celery for $0.25, wiener schnitzel for $0.40, 
and a whole potted spring chicken en casserole for $1.25, please.

Now, go do your part for food and cultural history (warning - its addicting)!

Thanks for sharing this, Susan!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

just browsing

Sometimes I go on Etsy looking for a specific thing, and before I know it, my fingers feel arthritic from all the clicking, and I realize I've been browsing for hours.  I end up saving a bunch of things as favorites, and sometimes it is fun to go back and browse through what I found worth saving.

Often the items have been sold, meaning that I am not the only one scouring the site with a keen interest in, say, the perfect ...

set of vintage cutting boards,

mother of pearl souvenir locket from Maine,

 set of vintage glass garden spritzers,

 vintage green and white enameled colander,

figurine of a Boston Terrier with pups,

  vintage tablecloth with Battenburg Lace,

 book about Healthy Sports for Boys circa 1910,

or 1970s lemon yellow wristlet.

There are still plenty of items saved in my favorites that are still available to tempt me, though, such as ....





I hope this has inspired your very own Etsy browsing session of unreasonable duration. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

furniture escapism

I'd like to tell you that it's been almost a month since my last post because I have been crazy busy on interviews, or out enjoying the beautiful spring weather - but I haven't. I am playing the waiting game on two positions I've applied to, and the weather so far this spring has been terrible. 

For the most part I've been busy scouring job postings, making contacts, trying to stay at least a teeny tiny bit on track with training for the Toronto 1/2 Marathon, attending a class on Nonprofit Management, procrastinating in current-job wrap up activities, and planning a friend's baby shower, which I hosted on Saturday. 

Oh, and day dreaming A LOT about new living room furniture. 

Indulge me while I focus on the last and most inane of those activities, and engage in a little furniture escapism, wont you?

We are looking to replace our black leather man-cave furniture in the living room sometime this year. We haven't even narrowed down what pieces of furniture we want (sofa and loveseat? sofa and comfy chair  with ottoman? sofa and chaise? sofa/chaise combo?) ... so bear with me as I share some things that have caught my eye (and, in many cases, caused it to start twitching at the price tag)...

I have been coveting this sofa from one of my favorite house tours for so long, but haven't been able to figure out where its from.

Since the house belongs to an interior designer, chances are she had the ticking stripe slipcover made custom, and the sofa is way out of my reach anyway.

I did, however, find this sofa from Pottery Barn - a company I hate to give my money to (more on that in another post), but would probably make an exception for here, because I really, really love it. 

It just looks so wonderfully deep and comfortable - two of our requirements. And its also casual, yet classic - my preference. You can get it slipcovered in any number of machine washable fabrics, including this blue ticking stripe, which might make for a suitable (albeit still expensive) knockoff of my dream sofa. 

There's also this chair and ottoman too, also in a machine washable slipcover:

Pottery Barn

I'm a sucker for the "traditional English roll arm" style (as you'll see below).

And then there is this amazingly deep chair - somewhere in between your standard arm chair and a chaise. My legs are itching to be curled up on it with a book:

Restoration Hardware

And speaking of chaises ... they are one of my all time favorite pieces of furniture. I'm trying to  A) figure out a way to fit 2 chaises into the living room in place of a full sized sofa (and supplement with a loveseat) and B) figure out a way to pay for them (a chaise is  often as expensive as a sofa). A is proving much easier than B.

Evan's on board for one chaise if we can make it fit in our living room and budget. His aunt and uncle have a chaise big enough to snuggle up in together to watch TV and take naps. It's one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture I have ever sat in (especially after a Thanksgiving feast), whether you're in it alone or with your main squeeze. We've been keeping our eyes open for one. 

Ahhhh, if only money were no object ....

All of the above - Restoration Hardware. *swoon*

This "TV Lounger" from Lee Industries is big enough to fit two people. If only it came in a slipcovered or leather option. Not wild about the velvet.

And then there are recliners - which usually remind me of the man-cave furniture we are trying to replace. But after going over to a friend's house this weekend and reclining in hers, I remembered what a ridiculously  comfortable piece of furniture it can be - and that they don't have to be hideous.


The biggest consideration for us in the furniture hunt is durability. We have a dog who we've always allowed to curl up next to us on the sofa, which frankly we enjoy as much as he does. And then there may come a day when we decide to add a 2 legged kid to the mix. So I'd prefer something easily cleaned (like slipcovers or leather) or something very, very stain resistant (which usually means microfiber, which I am usually not crazy about). Since leather makes everything infinitely more expensive, I'm thinking we might go with a slipcovered sofa and a leather chair/recliner (if we end up going with the sofa/chair combo).

There is also the sectional/sofa-with-chaise option to consider, which seems like it would be the easiest for our space, but which also tends to come in options that I find too modern or blah. It's also rare to find slipcovered options, and leather sectionals tend to be really, really expensive.

That said, here are a few that I think are worth considering:
 West Elm:

 Restoration Hardware:

Lee Industries:


Speaking of Lee Industries ... I'm hoping to go with Evan soon to the only place I know of  in Buffalo that carries their furniture - DK Benson Interiors - to see what floor models they have. I am curious to see how comfortable they are, and what the prices are like. I love that they have so many tight-back sofa and chair options, since I would rather avoid loose or semi-attached cushions that constantly have to be fussed with and poofed up, and which inevitably seem to lose their shape after a few years.

Some other Lee furniture that I love:


A "Chair-and-a-Half" - would be similar to the 2 person chaise 
if you could find a large ottoman to go with it.

I'll keep you posted, once I move past the fantasy stage ...